“I’M MORE OF AN ARTIST THAN A CRAFTSMAN”
Meet Diego Diaz
A veteran in the leather industry, Diego’s career begun at one of the most established and traditional tanneries in Argentina when he was just 15 years old. Years later, he was introduced to Tim Oulton at a fair in Shanghai, and Tim immediately offered him a job. Together they collaborate closely to produce totally unique hand-finished leathers.
Diego’s experience and knowledge balances with Tim’s creativity, resulting in ground breaking new ideas and concepts. Diego’s experiments have involved putting the leather through a concrete mixer and pouring different concoctions over the hides in his fully-functioning laboratory, all in the pursuit of new and interesting finishes.
Diego, why are you so passionate about leather?
It is like something that gets under your skin and into your blood. You get the ‘leather bite’ as we say in the industry.
Where does your inspiration come from?
It could be a piece of wood, stone, anything really. I experiment in my ‘magic room’ with a trial and error process and make adjustments along the way until I come up with something really interesting.
What distinguishes good quality leather from bad quality?
The finishes are what matters. My preferences are for natural finishes, although leaving space for creation is necessary. Leather is one of the oldest materials used by mankind; we should always keep this in mind.
What is so special about the way Timothy Oulton works with leather?
What’s most important is the amount of time we spend on each piece - how much ‘hand label’ we put into it is what really distinguishes us from the rest. We don’t ever use pigments, because you need to apply lots of layers of coating which means the end result is very plain and unnatural. We use transparent natural dyes instead, they give the exact colour you want without adding extra layers to the leather.
Do you consider yourself more of an artist or a craftsman?
One of my customers once told me “You are an artist; your canvas is the leather”. I couldn’t have said it any better. I try to come up with things that people probably never try to do. You need to be friends with the leather, to understand it and to see the product as a whole.