John Page is a Western North Carolinian by birth, but it was in North Georgia, where he grew up, that he learned the skills of fine leatherworking. His adopted hometown of Buford, Georgia, was for many years the home of the Bona Allen leather goods factory, and was sometimes billed as “the leather capitol of the world.” “Going through town,” Page writes, “you could smell the different leather processes, some good and some bad, but some of the finest leather work was created in these leather shops.”
Back home in North Carolina now for more than a decade, John and his wife Patti are the owners and sole employees of Nantahala Crafts, the workshop where John’s produces his beautifully crafted leather goods. Nantahala’s line of products emphasizes traditional leatherwork, including banjo and guitar straps, belts, gun holsters, and bags, as well as woven leather baskets, bowls, and dog collars. Except for tanning and burnishing, John does all of the work by hand, hand-cutting, -beveling, -dyeing, -embossing, and -sewing his creations.
John demonstrates and shows his work at Mountain Heritage Day, Georgia’s Arts in the Park, and the Georgia Apple Festival, among other events. His leather goods are sold at the Stecoah Valley Center‘s Art Gallery, Appalachian Heritage Crafters in Murphy, the Cottage Craftsman in Bryson City, and Twigs & Leaves in Waynesville.
John Page is available to show and demonstrate his work at festivals, craft shows, and other events. He accepts custom orders for leatherwork, and is happy to give visitors a tour of his studio when it is open.