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Leather crafts for a lifetime at Dark Forest posted on 03/01/2021

Welches resident Jeff Curry appreciates well-crafted objects that can last a long time, but sees us living in a society that is more focused on buying stuff that will quickly be thrown away. Curry still uses his grandmother’s cast iron pan, seasoned decades ago and still doing its job, while also enjoying a record player and the records that date back to his mother’s youth.

“You just don’t throw those away,” Curry said. “They still work perfectly great. I’m much more interested in things you're going to hold on to and have more meaning.”

And with that philosophy in mind, Curry opened his new business venture, Dark Forest USA, a lifestyle goods company that offers handmade leather products, including wallets, camera straps, cast iron mittens and more.

Curry, who grew up in Pittsfield, Mass. and went to school in Vermont, uses American leather and thread for his products and the leather is tanned with vegetable oil, making it more environmentally friendly than the chemical-based alternatives. His products also come with a lifetime guarantee.

“I really wanted to make something that would stand the test of time,” Curry said, adding that he’s “on a crusade” to share with people why investing in something that is well-made will pay off in the long run, rather than buying a number of cheap alternatives.

Dark Forest USA, named with that idea that even in the deepest, darkest parts of the forest, the light will always shine through, is Curry’s second business venture, after starting the textile company Treefort with a business partner. During that endeavor, Curry learned some basic leather skills while creating hundreds of different logos for a variety of products, but when he suffered a ski injury in 2017, he started developing his new business during his recovery.

“From there, I just kind of got hooked on the whole leatherworking thing,” he said.

Curry, who also worked locally at Windell’s Ski Camp as a ski coach, noted that the momentum for his new company gained steam during the coronavirus pandemic, when he was stuck at home and devoted more time into crafting leather.

He added that when he takes his pieces to craft fairs, the cast iron mitten (used to protect hands from a hot skillet) is a popular item, while his golf tee holster (featuring embossed initials) was a hit as a Christmas present for his father.

In the near future, Curry hopes to figure out the final designs for feminine wallets, saying that he’s always experimenting with new designs, but he doesn’t want to rush something along and then have to change it.

“I’m a very meticulous person,” he said. “I need to figure it out and make a couple to test out before releasing it.”

For more information, visit www.darkforestusa.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT




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