Tactile Craftworks is a small leather crafting company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, founded in 2014 by Sarah Kirkham and Anna Warren. We strive to make pieces that are long-lasting, beautiful to look at, and satisfying to hold.
All of our products are made in our midwest studio. We love how visceral working with leather is: it's all sharp knives, metal stamps and rawhide mallets. While that rough process is always apparent in the leather, we're intentional about achieving refined results. We are always playing with the perceptions of leather as a material, how it is substantial and durable but also seen as fine and handsome. We aim to create products that balance these qualities.
Our craft is most inspired by history, our customers, other makers, and the outdoors. In the Atlas Series, our love of home and heritage is at the fore. Our hand tooled pieces promote campfires and adventure. We consider ourselves lucky to be a tiny part of a traditional craft, and we feel a sense of responsibility to work hard at it. We try to honor the craftsmanship that has come before us, while trusting our own eyes and aesthetics.
We take pride in how we’ve been able to combine old world crafting techniques with modern technology to create our products. Handcrafting is the heart of what we do- and laser etching allows us to add another dimension to our work, one that enhances our craftsmanship instead of replacing it.
Sarah Kirkham (Founder) was born in Arizona and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. An interest in leatherwork began at her childhood summer camp, and reignited for a Period Styles project while she was completing her BFA in Theater Design and Technology at the University of Evansville. After taking a workshop in Coptic Bookbinding, she began developing product that combined leather carving and tooling, and hand stitching with sinew.
Sarah is fixing up her first bungalow with her husband, Brandon, and they are working to visit every National Park in the US.
Anna Warren (Founder) has traveled far and wide, but has called Milwaukee home for the last 27 years. Her roots are in crafting for the stage; she has made her living making props in Milwaukee and Santa Fe, NM since 2005.
Anna's passion is world travel, but while she is saving up for the next trip (Austria) she tries to fit in yoga, putzing around on the internet, enjoying local coffee and beers, crafting with her friends, canoeing, and reading. Her greatest adventure to date has been her marriage to Mike. Anna and Mike live in their wonky house with their two dogs and two cats- and an army of tiny ninjas.
Lauren Marvell (Craftsperson) is a Milwaukee native who ended up in leatherworking completely by accident. Her first leather-related internship began about 4 years ago for a hand-crafted bag artisan while studying fine art at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. After completing her degree, she landed at Tactile Craftworks as a leather craftsperson.
When she’s not working with leather, Lauren loves illustrating, baking, rearranging the furniture, and thrift shopping. She still lives in the suburbs of Milwaukee with her siblings/best friends and their dog and cat.