Being Brave Enough To Suck At Something New

Posted by Bria Kanas on

Ladies and gentlemen, this is it. The very first piece I ever created, at a workshop with Double K Leather Works' amazing Kira Karpinski. You can view her store at

It's terrible. Positively awful. The worst craftsmanship you've ever seen. The truth is I am guilty of destroying a lot of leather 🤣 I've had pieces I worked on for hours, only to have them meet their demise at the sewing machine. I have spilled paint on and cut through items by accident. I even once stained a beautiful piece in my own blood because I cut my finger tip damn near off with a rotary knife. 

The thing is, you have to be willing to suck at something long enough to become good at it, if you are committed to turning a profit.

Really suck. I mean 'lose your temper and scream obscenities, throw your sucker in the dirt and threaten yourself to go home - you know.... over at the couch where things are easy, and quit' kind of awful.

The kind that makes you pour a drink. And that only happens with practice. Lots and lots of mistakes, practice, and more mistakes.

But anyone with enough interest can try. It doesnt really cost anything of yourself to try. My partner has taken an interest in leather, and every time he has a question about how to improve the look of something, my response is always the same - PRACTICE! This cute grinch wallet, his second attempt....

There is nothing lost in making something that goes in the trash or sits on a shelf, as long as you've learned something from those mistakes. Those items can be a great benchmark by which to measure your success as you move forward. You can start with small projects and move to larger ones as you continue to gain experience. And you will find your style as you go. 

But it isn't just about your individual abilities to carve or tool or paint either. A large part of the learning process is tools or brands of products, hardware, and types of leathers. For example, alcohol or water based dyes behave very differently and that is knowledge you gain by using them on different projects. Learning to use the sewing machine can prove to be difficult even if you are seasoned at sewing. Shoutout here to Toledo Industrial for every time I've called with stupid questions about this beast...

Just when you think you have it figured out, you'll break a tool, your sewing machine will need special order parts, or your favorite brand of supplies will be out of stock or discontinued. It is a never ending battle, but the important part is not to give in to feeling defeated. I will be the first one to tell you about how much money I've wasted on ruined projects. I've thrown things across the room in fits of anger. But I've also pulled items out of the trash can and learned to find creative ways to save those pieces. Some of my best pieces have been born out of colossal mistakes. This piece for example... distressed paint - a style that I invented when something didn't go right. 

It wasn't just money I have spent on these mistakes, but time as well. But how you choose to spend your time can determine the direction your life takes. And let me tell you, sucking at something can last a while 🤣.

At the end of 2019, I was laid off from my full time job for one to two weeks at a time each month. My life drastically changed. I had all this free time and way less money. But what I really have was a new opportunity. A choice to waste that time watching TV, or sit down and continue to epically suck at leather work, this new hobby of mine. I spent nearly all of those days working on leather, because at first I wasn't fast, even with the pieces that turned out great. 

In the end I've come up with some fun new styles, and created some really beautiful pieces. 

Special thanks to Kira Karpinski for getting me started and sharing what she knows. And Erin Rios at Midge Metals for helping me get that first collar out the door!

Continue to be brave enough to suck at something new until you don't anymore. 



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  • I love your work! Thank you for this link

    Susan on

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