Back in the saddle

It has been a nice year for me. I was fortunate to get a Fulbright grant to teach for 4 weeks in Buenos Aires, and then my wife and I traveled for another 2 weeks. It was wonderful, and we really miss Argentina.

I love traveling. I love science and my “day job”. I love leatherwork and art.

With my wife in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Argentina.

With my wife in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Argentina.

Whenever I’m traveling, especially for long trips like the recent one to Argentina, I try to figure out how I can continue doing this for years. On this recent trip, I was scheming how to spend a few years in a homemade camper traveling from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley” is one of my favorite books, and I’m always trying to figure out how to pull it off…

Whenever I’m figuring out new things at my University job, I need to pinch myself to make sure that it isn’t a dream. With a bunch of collaborators and friends, I’ve recently published a nice paper that shows how small worms find mates. It is very fun to discover new things that nobody else has ever seen! In the process I learn many new things, I teach students about science, and I make new friends. And they even pay me to do it! When things are going like this, I can’t imagine doing anything else…

3 new bike bags. Isn't color fun!

3 new bike bags. Isn’t color fun!

Whenever I’m in my leather shop and making new things, I dream about setting up a more serious shop, training young people in the craft, and spending all of my time designing and making new objects. There is nothing better than starting with a side of leather, some thread, glue, and a few buckles and ending up with an object that is beautiful, useful (or not…), and that people enjoy. When I get several days in my shop, I wonder how I could do anything else…

Detail of new bike bag: front.

Detail of new bike bag: front.

During my trip to Argentina, I was not able to make any leather objects. I really did miss my workshop! Over the past few months, I’ve been exploring colors. I tend to be a traditionalist, and I think there is nothing much better than old natural leather. It just gets better and better. I’ve never been fond of dying leather, but after a trip to Florence, Italy for a science conference, I discovered some wonderful dyed leather work, and I’ve been applying this technique to boxes and some iPad cases.

Detail of back where it attaches to the saddle.

Detail of back where it attaches to the saddle.

My first project after returning from Argentina was 3 new bicycle bags in pretty and bold colors. I love the way they turned out, and I’m now working on a red one for my own bike. These have the same hand stitching and finishing as my other work, and I really like the way they look and feel!

Now that I’m back into my shop, I need to soon switch gears for a big new grant that I’m writing for my day job before my next big trip…! It is all fun, and I really do wish that I had another life or two to live at the same time. With the right balance and attention to all the aspects of life that make it so rich and wonderful, the one life that I’ve got is great!

Dream your dreams! Live your life! Happy New Year!

One response

  1. For those of us who also vicariously traveled to Argentina, it was a good year for us too ☺.

    Happy New Years to you too –

    Dick

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