Work by more than 100 Artisans inside new Carmel more

New Castle
Kerry Moncrieff

I am continually striving to make the heirloom quality leather goods that will stand the test of time.

For more than 30 years, Kerry Moncrieff’s life involved time with his wife, who is a fellow artist, their dog, the cats, reading, drawing, and playing mandolin. Then along came the kilt.

“I have always been greatly interested in the history of my definitively Scottish family name, as well as the history of Scotland,” he said. More than a decade ago, just before Christmas, the direction of his life changed. “I decided to buy a kilt,” he said.

Wearers of the fashion call themselves “Kilties,” and Kerry says all will tell you “the first kilt leads to the slippery slope of kilt and kilt accessory acquisition.” And so it was for him. Unable to find a casual day-wear sporran he liked, Kerry tried his hand at making his own.

“I have made things since I was about six,” he said, “and having a degree in fine art I thought ‘Why not?’ Jump ahead a decade and many sporrans later and, while Kerry says he’s retired, he’s busier than ever designing and making sporrans, cell phone cases, key rings, and purses, “continually striving to create heirloom quality leather goods that will stand the test of time.”

“I am inspired by the history of leatherworking and the items I make, particularly Scottish Sporrans,” he said. “My fascination with historical and current Celtic design in metal work, fabric, wood, and stone work, inspired me to expand my body of work to include women’s purses and modern additions like cell phone and tablet cases.”

“Inspired” is a word Kerry uses a lot. He says he’s “inspired by arts and crafts of all cultures. I believe everything I see, whether walking through a museum, through the woods, or watching other artists at work, contributes to my craft.” Much of what he sees inspires him to focus heavily on detail.

“Looking at a lot of leather work, I see great things being made and not so great things. My work exemplifies a high level of detail and craftsmanship,” he said. “It is greatly influenced by designs of the past. It is produced by hand and represents my own unique vision. I consider the utility required by daily use and ensure each piece is functional and appropriate for modern life. It reflects my mindset of having one foot in the present and one in the past.”

History’s great leatherworkers would appreciate his work – no unfinished edges or sloppy stitching, stress points are reinforced, and color choices are appealing and lean toward historical accuracy. “There are no goofy designs,” he says. “I am quality driven and work to ensure my goods stand the test of time. The durability of my leather work is in the details, the quality material, timeless design, structure, and construction. All combine to produce a product that will last and endure.”

The Indiana Artisan jury panel recognized that, noting his work is a reflection of the history of fine craftsmanship in the state, as well as a reflection of the heritage of Scottish craftsmen who, for generations, have made Indiana home.

“I am humbled and grateful to be recognized by the state as an Indiana Artisan,” Kerry said. “I enjoy networking with other fine artists and the opportunity to network with vendors who support fine Indiana crafts.” He went on to say, “I’m proud of the work that comes from my area of the state,” sounding appropriately clannish. “And I hope this designation inspires other East Central Indiana artisans, as many deserve the recognition.”