Leatherwork is an aspect of visual arts that concerns itself with the production of items and articles with leather as the principal material. It involves the various processes of preparing the skins (outer coverings of small animals) and hides (outer coverings of large animals) into leather and using appropriate tools and materials as well as techniques to produce leather articles. Leatherwork is therefore not limited to only the preparation of the outer coverings of animals into leather, but also, the production of articles using the leather obtained.
Leatherwork as a field of study has several social and economic relevance.
1. It serves as an avenue for creativity and self-expression:
Leatherwork is a practically oriented subject that requires students to produce several practical works with various themes. In the execution of these works, creativity and self-expression is the prime focus or is given the primary attention. Students are expected to produce original works and express their own selves using the tools, materials, and techniques at their disposal. This helps in the promotion and development of the students’ creative abilities. It also offers them a platform to express themselves.
2. It makes life worth living and comfortable:
The study of leatherwork aims at helping the learner to meet his or her basic necessities in life. When the needs of man are satisfied, life becomes enjoyable, worth living and comfortable. Various articles which are dire needed in the running of our daily activities are produced as a result of the study in leatherwork. From the protective clothing of the individual, shoes, bags and upholstery to the containers of the market women are possible only through leatherwork.
Students are knowledgeable informed on the right usage of leather and are endowed with skills in the production of items in leatherwork. This makes life interesting and worth living.
3. It creates several employment avenues for learners and other people in the country:
Due to the fact that students are taught and given relevant skills in the production of leather articles, they can set up their own small-scale industries in leather production. Also, leatherwork provides employment for the vast population of people in a country. Some of these include leather tanners, tutors, sellers, technicians, etc. Without the study of leatherwork, most of the people in our country would have been jobless, thus, without an employment to be able to fend for themselves, their families and the nation as a whole through the paying of taxes.
4. It promotes tourism and culture:
Various items produced in leatherwork are sold to tourists who tour the country. They, in turn, trade in the exportation of leatherworks to other foreign lands. Most leather articles bear our cultural symbols and this helps in the promotion of our Ghanaian rich cultural heritage. Leather items such as bracelets, necklaces, wristlets, hats, files and folders, bags, shoes etc. immensely promote the tourism industry.
5. It leads to the improvement in one’s standard of living:
People who engage in businesses in leatherwork attest to the candid truth that it has improved their standard of living. If managed properly, even a one article producing venture can automatically transform one’s standard of living for the good.
6. It provides containers for products:
Several farm produce such as grains needs better and efficient receptacles for storage. Important documents and files are conveniently kept in portfolios in leather. Leather is the chief material used in the production of containers for a variety of goods and items produced in the country. If these containers were not produced via leatherwork, important documents would have been missing and most farm produce would have been garbage in refuse disposals.