J.MYERS: The Leather Goods Craftsman
Posted on June 18, 2013
JEREMIAH ANG, SINGAPORE
Commercial Photographer and Leather Goods Craftsman at J.MYERS COMPANY
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I am a father, a husband and an only son. Made in Singapore by my father, an artist and my mother, a retired seamstress. I went to film school and majored in audio engineering but photography was my biggest interest. However, there wasn’t a photography major that I could enroll for. Which I attribute to the fact that those were still film days and it probably wasn’t as cool to sling a camera over your shoulder.
What is your passion in life?
No matter what I do, I can never stop daydreaming and making things. Usually I daydream about making things. So yeah my passion is making stuff, it could be making a beautiful photograph or just trying to bake bread. As long as I can turn raw materials and ideas into a finished item, I am happy.
Why is passion so important in life?
Passion is often a dirty word, misused by many employers to exploit the young and eager. But passion is what drives you (or at least, me) to wake up and live every day. It can be anything. Passionate about the same cup of coffee at the same coffee shop in the morning, passionate about whatever it is that awaits you at work. Or even so passionate about buying that handbag at the end of the month that you can drag yourself to work every morning.
Do you have Monday Blues (or Sunday Evening Sorrows)?
On the contrary, Mondays are my most productive days. I recharge on weekends and plan for the week on Sunday evenings and can’t wait to get to work. But I’m usually flat after Wednesdays and can’t wait for Saturday. So I guess I’m more of a mid-week crisis type.
When did you have the ‘Fuck this, I’m going to do this now’ moment?
I guess my moment was when I decided to leave the comfort of permanent employment. I couldn’t stand working for some pseudo “Celebrity” and felt that there’s more I could be doing. I was left with $600 in my savings account then.
Who/what is your inspiration?
What is your favourite phrase/word/sentence?
What is your most hated phrase/word/sentence?
Without a doubt, it has got to be the commonly used reply, “Noted. With Thanks.”
If you managed to find the key to turn back time, what would you have done the same or differently?
Looking back, I think every good and bad experience has its part to play in getting me where I am now, so I think I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Advice for others who want to pursue their passion.
First step is self reflection – is it truly your passion or are you only doing it because you think its cool? A good benchmark is — if you think of it when you are awake and dream about it when you are sleeping, then it’s probably worth a shot.
What are the challenges you’ve faced when starting this passion of yours?
For leather working, the biggest challenge would have been finding the know-how and getting the supplies. Especially when money is a rare commodity. Also in Singapore, there is virtually no way to find mentorship for the kind of leather goods I intended to make.
Where did you learn your leather making skills?
Internet, books and daydreaming.
What have you made to date? How did you go about it?
I’ve made a variety of things — from small items such as simple key fobs to more complex, larger items such as a briefcase and wine carrier. Usually for something that I have never done before, I take a few days to fret and wonder if I can actually make it. Then I allow the whole process of constructing the item to run itself in my head for some time. Finally, I start drafting the patterns. Once the patterns are done, I usually construct a sample piece with scraps and then make alterations and go back to the drawing table to draft new patterns.
What is the mantra/wisdom you live by?
10 people will tell you 10 different things, do what you think is right and accept the consequences. Life still has to go on.