Sometimes, you can just hear it in their voice: True dedication, resonating out of every syllable. An artist talking about his art, a craftsman talking about his profession is always a sublime thing: The heart speaks freely of that which it admires the most. No filter, no processing, just the outright, passionate truth. Needless to say, these moments are very rare. And if you find one, you hold on to it. You cherish it. Just like when you are talking to Uwe Tauber.
“Uwe Tauber. Maker” is all his website is headlined with. Not a lot, but then again, it is as true as it is telling. The 42 year old is handcrafting the finest leathergoods with finesse and a gut feeling for quality – purses, cases, boxes, bags. A maker, just as his website says. “That sums up best what I am all about”, he laughs. “I have always been of the opinion that it is better to do something by yourself than asking someone else to do it.” Not out of arrogance, he adds, but out of curiosity and a lifelong passion for craftsmanship.
As a precision mechanic, Tauber is bringing a hell of a lot of finesse and precision to the workbench. Still, becoming such a pro in leatherware as an autodidact took him a long while. Twelve years ago, his life changed drastically, and he was lacking a certain outlet in which to challenge himself, to immerse himself in. This is when he stumbled across that special material called leather. “When I got home from work, I sat down, put on some music and just worked away on some leather pieces.” Soon afterward, instead of buying a new purse, he simply made one himself. “This is how it all began”, he recalls.
His passion for the art of leatherwork built as quickly as word of his skills got around. Not long after, he was fully dedicated to only the finest leathergoods and began building up a stock of customers. Not for the sake of selling as much as possible, oh no. In fact, quite the contrary is the case: “I began doing this only for myself – as a form of relaxation. But when more and more people kept asking whether I could make them a thing or two, I began taking things to the next level.”
In the future, he plans to expand his business considerably – Tauber-style of course. “There will be no webshop. If you are interested in something special, just call me and we will be working on ideas.” This personal connection of his costumers is why he is doing it. No anonymous people ordering stuff off the internet but special characters with special stories. Individuality is the keyword here, his number one priority. Uwe Tauber only does customized products, nothing ready-made here.
Why leather, you ask? “It is such a beautiful, living material”, Tauber raves. “I remember getting an old spectacle case from my grandma that my granddad had with him in Second World war. That was more than 70 years ago and it still looks fresh! Over the years, leather is becoming more and more beautiful. Just like a good whiskey, it’s aging very well.” Tools are important, too. “I had to find out there’s a reason why some tools are much more expensive than others”, he admits with a grin.
Tauber just loves working with his hands. In the workshop, but also in the kitchen where he turns out to be an avid and creative chef. “No matter where, the quality of the product is of utmost importance”, he stresses. That means that only the best leather is used for his goods and only the finest meat is landing on his barbecue. “I always try to buy all my leather in Germany”, he explains, regretfully adding that this is not always possible these days. “Two tanneries I closely worked with closed down since I started in 2011. This is making it increasingly difficult to get my hands on good leather.” For him, this “good leather” is a vague thing not to be explained in words. He needs to touch it, to feel it, to smell it to know whether he can work with it or not. “Leather is not pretending to be something it’s not. It’s leather, and it’s here to stay.”
Today, he is living and working in an old smithy that he converted into a loft. It’s a combined workshop, living room and open kitchen, neatly joining all of his passions into one. There he is cooking, there he is working away on his prestigious leathergoods. “I couldn’t be happier”, he beams. And gets back to work on a beautiful leather handbag.