Daniel Groussman has been crafting his leather designs for over 20 years. His style has evolved from a philosophy rooted in the act of making a given work rather than a focus merely on the physical existence of the finished work. He is drawn towards the organization of components and the orchestration of tasks necessary to execute a given work. The method he engages employs a meditative repetition – multiple small steps making up a larger whole. The resulting work coming from his studio embodies a natural, labor-oriented aesthetic characteristic of a time that many people today still revere but also mock for being “too behind the times” or “too labor intensive.” Disregarding the “faster and cheaper” mentality that tends to drive consumerism, Groussman has remained loyal to a hand-assembly technique when building his art, believing that the best way to construct an item is to do it with pace, deliberation, and love – the way things that we now treasure as antiques were once originally made. This is the reason why all of his leather creations are stitched by hand, not machine. He believes that when it’s done right the first time, with the best ingredients, with love and skill, that these factors will continue to live on in the created object, often far beyond the life of the crafter.
Groussman first developed his artistic endeavors as a child, dismantling old adding machines and typewriters to harvest their interesting springs and levers for use in new creations. As he grew up, his father’s workshop became his primary domain, his mother often brought his dinners into the garage. He first worked with leather while attending the University of Utah where his studies of sculpture, design and architecture eventually led to his earning a Bachelors of Science in Design degree in 1993. Drawn towards further studies of geometry, proportion and the formal study of design, he began traveling regularly to Europe and the Middle East to sketch the many bridges, cathedrals and mosques he encountered. His love of travel has most recently led to annual trips to Southeast Asia where he has researched traditional weavings, carvings and other labor-oriented craft works allied with his act of making philosophy. Groussman earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Wood Design from Central Washington University in 2006 with an emphasis on combining woodworking with leathercraft. He currently lives and works in Port Townsend, Washington – with his bride Melissa, their daughter Ruby, and their dozen-or-so flock of hard-working hens – in the cabin and studio they built together amongst tall trees.
“Fine craft is like fine food – it’s always more appreciated when made slowly, with attention to detail and from the best ingredients. My clients recognize the difference my handmade leather goods make in their fast-paced lives – lives bombarded with disposable commodities and poorly made things. In contrast, I craft my wares from scratch for those who want it done once, done well, and done to last beyond their lifetime.”
– Daniel Groussman