Master Makers is a series of posts focused on brilliant makers with the ability to teach others how to do what they do.
Makers don't usually get the opportunity to be "game changers", but if you've ever been to Bangkok, you'd know that CraftsmanGus has been shaping its leather game for years.
Gus's workshop is a testament to what leather can do. He's become internationally renowned in part to the designs on its walls—each bag could easily be a showcase piece at any high-end boutique. However, what's made Gus's abilities truly unique is that he'll show you how to make bags the way he does in just a few days.
Suphat “Gus” Jansubbakich began as an architect. After years of sketching structures that would take hundreds of professionals to build, the personal touch of being a maker became an easy transition. Self taught in leather, Gus pulls from his deep understanding of architectural aesthetics to create his designs. And after putting in years of trial-and-error, he knew it would be possible to teach others what he learned.
Gus's workshop embraces makers that want to start with a solid foundation, and is so much more than a couple hours every Saturday—it's a fully immersive workshop where you get to take a cowhide (or fish skin!) by the horns (the gills?). While Gus offers 2-day classes where you'll learn to create card cases and wallets, it's his 6-day courses that give you the opportunity to engineer a bag, camera case or something similar. You'll get to pick out leather from a local market. You'll learn how to sketch a pattern and bring it to life. You'll learn about leather-making tools, sewing methods, best practices and learn that making is nothing more than the desire to do it.
While Megan and I left, we wondered why we'd never heard of anything as transparent about its process as Gus's courses before . In the U.S., craftspeople can get so focused on never giving away secrets that they forget what originally made making thrive…apprenticeship. While the workshop is Gus's business, he realizes he could be giving competitors classified information…but that's not any concern to him. For Gus, leather is a community—and we should all be welcome to advance this art form together.
If you're ever in Bangkok, you can contact Gus about class schedules at craftsmangus.com.
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