Hardwick Housewares

Hardwick Housewares carries handmade leather drinking and serving vessels. The store's genre spans medieval, contemporary, and art/fantasy. Artist Chris is also starting to list medieval-themed wearables like combat armor and bodices.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I discovered leather vessels several years ago at an SCA event. There was a guy selling there whom I found out later has been making leather vessels for many years. I was absolutely fascinated by the concept of a functional leather vessel. It turns out that the idea is very old.

A couple of years after this initial discovery, when searching for Christmas gift ideas I decided to give leather mugs a try. I had begun to explore other types of leather craft already. I figured it would be a fun and challenging experiment and I'd have a good chance of success having had a couple of years to ponder their construction.

I tried it. The prototype was good enough that I decided to make a dozen. They turned out to be exceptional and very well received. My wife and I still have the pair that we kept and we still use them. My large tankard design is that original mug with only minor finish changes.

After that initial success I decided to make some for sale. It was pretty rough getting my first sale, but sales have been steadily increasing.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Honestly? Video games. I'm a total XBOX junkie.

However, I also enjoy spending time with my family, making vessels (especially new designs), researching new art and historical vessel designs, and playing with old LandCruisers.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your shop?
Finding the time. With a family and a very demanding full time job, I can choose between killing myself trying to keep up with the business or letting things get behind and not having enough inventory to take to events.

What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
I think one of the English Leather Bottles. They have such a nice shape. I've loved the design since before the first one was finished.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Somehow I had enough foresight to realize that I had no idea. I wanted to be a lot of things, mostly engineering and technology related. I was into robotics, laser physics, and electronics.

I also had a real self esteem problem that had me believe I probably wouldn't be able to have a job I want.

In the end I became an electronics engineer. Now that I am, I want to do something creative, with natural materials instead.

What other shops or artists out there do you love?
hardwickhousewares.etsy.com - my wife's shop

Beyond that I don't have any. I don't get any time to explore them internets.

What does your future hold?
I really have no idea. That's not foresight, just uncertainty. I'd like to be self-employed, making leather vessels and other things.

Vacations to sparsely populated tropical places would be good too.

Visit Hardwick Housewares at hardwickleathergoods.etsy.com and HardwickHousewares.etsy.com or stop by hardwickhousewares.com. If you're in the area be sure to stop by and see Chris at the Oregon Country Fair and the Shrewsbury Rennaisance Fair this year!