The Leatherwork Impulse 
 Works of Richard Gorman
©Richard J. Gorman 2007 - 2028

Richard's current body of work, some of which is shown here, was begun in late 2006, and is based primarily on a Bison hide and an Elk hide, along with hundreds of yards of goat, calf, and kangaroo lace. All of the pieces are his original designs, hand cut, punched, sewn, and laced. Richard imagines that they could be everyday accessories, or components of Renaissance Faire or Celtic Festival costumes. He also imagines that some of his work may soon be offered for sale in retail establishments where he lives.
  For no particular reason he can recall, Richard calls these his "swing" bags, small shoulder bags with Buffalo bodies and Elk gussets, made with calf skin lace. They were made with the intention of holding milady's bare necessities when she goes out dancing. 

The largest of the above group is approximately 4.5" square. The body lacing is of Calfskin, and the round braid strap is made of kangaroo skin, some of the strongest lace I have ever worked with. Celtic knotwork button.

Retail value: $350 

Approximately 4.5" deep, and 3" wide inside, also with calf skin lace on the body and an adjustable kangaroo strap. The strap is long enough to allow the bag to be worn about the waist. The button is a deer antler crown. 

Retail value: $300
The smallest of the swing bags is approximately 3.5" deep and 3.2" wide. This size is meant to hold your money, ID, and keys. All calf skin lace with long adjustable strap, and a cross-cut deer antler button.

Retail value: $250


  More of this collection, including two fashioned as belt bags. The body lacing on these consumes about 25 feet of lace for the smaller, and 29 feet for the larger.
His belt bag is 4.5" deep by 3" wide inside, Made of Buffalo and Elk with kangaroo lacing, it features a Celtic knotwork button.

Retail Value: $300
The compact belt bag is approximately 3" wide and deep on the inside, with medium brown calfskin lacing, and a Celtic triskele button.

Retail Value: $250  
Another swing bag, 4.5" deep by 3" wide inside, with kangaroo lace, and a Celtic knotwork button. This piece was entered in the Nevada County Fair, and won the blue ribbon.

Not for sale. 
This pattern is modeled after a rustic sporran, a belt bag worn front and center over the traditional Scottish kilt. On both, the one-piece back/flap is of Buffalo, and the body of Elk. Fitted with belt loops, they can be worn over the shoulder with the addition of a round-braided strap. They are approximately 5" wide and deep, and today would hold his wallet, keys, and cell phone.
Both bags feature reinforcing patches where the tie passes through, and hand-stitched welting on the inside edge of the bag. Calf skin lace with a Celtic knotwork button.

Retail value: $250

Laced with a medium brown calfskin lace, the bag on the left does not have its braided tie on yet. The button is a deer antler crown.

Retail value: $250 

These little shaman bags are about 3" deep by 2" wide, good for holding small objects, worn about the neck perhaps, or tied on to a belt. Calfskin lacing with Celtic and deer antler buttons, with latigo thongs.

Retail value: $120

Richard's medicine bags are made of a variety of leathers, thanks to friends who have shared some of their remnants with him. These feature beading of Native American-style horn and bone, brass and copper beads.

Retail value: $100
The butter-colored leather is deer skin, the red is bullhide, and Buffalo and Elk are used in these also. Celtic and deer antler buttons. With goat skin thongs these are bead-it-yourself bags.

Retail value: $70
For the edge stitching, Richard uses a Spanish edge lacing of two loops. The stitch consumes a yard of lace for every four inches of edge. The medicine bags require nine feet of lace.

More medicine bags in various leathers. The buttons are of side- and cross-cut deer antler and various Celtic designs.


Richard Gorman began crafting leather when he was a teenager. In the 1970's he was a partner, with Fred Callahan, in Impulse Trading Company, a retail store in Sacramento that featured Richard's leather works and Fred's jewelry, among other things. After Impulse Trading Company closed in 1980, Richard dabbled in leatherwork only at intervals. Today he has become engaged in a serious revival of his craft. His goal, which he feels called to, is to create functional folk art, using all of the skills he has acquired over the years to their fullest expression. Richard does this because he must. He feels like he owes it to someone.

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All contents ©Richard J. Gorman 2007 - 2028

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