In pursuit of mental stimulation amid the pandemic, Damariscotta resident David Lindall turned to leather.
“I couldn’t handle sitting around and not doing something creative with my hands,” Lindall said.
Last January, Lindall came across a YouTube video of craftsmen from Massachusetts, under the name Corter Leather, creating a simple cigarette lighter case out of a few square inches of scrap leather.
“I don’t even smoke; I just loved watching the hand-sewing process,” Lindall said.
Lindall found a beat-up leather wallet in his toolshed, followed the sewing pattern from the video, and started cutting it up.
“It was the first thing I did in a long time that kept my mind and hands occupied,” he said.
Lindall, a custodian at West Bath School and now creator of Swamp Yankey Leather, has kept himself busy at his kitchen table, crafting minimalist leather wallets, card holders, and custom leather pieces out of leather scraps and remnants.
Lindall features three leather wallets on his Instagram and Facebook pages: the Uptah, the Old Timer, and the Wicked.
“I wouldn’t call this a business; it’s more of just a hobby,” he said. “Of course, if people like my work, I’m more than willing to send it to them.”
While he does not plan to sell his products, he posts his finished work on his Instagram page and will charge a shipping fee if someone wants a piece.
“My material is all low-grade and recycled,” he said. “Nothing fancy.”
He finds most of his leather at Brettuns Village, a leather craft supply business in Lewiston. While the shop’s inventory ranges from leftovers to high-quality leathers, Lindall goes for the cheap stuff, which makes for unique pieces.
“If anything, creating wallets and keychains out of scrap materials has shown me the sentimental worth of craftsmanship,” he said.
“You can buy a wallet anywhere and not know the mental and physical process that went into it,” he added.
Lindall grew up between New Jersey and Rhode Island, moving to Maine permanently in 1985, when his parents winterized their summer cottage in Alna.
He worked his way through the restaurant industry for many years before settling down in Damariscotta.
“Technically I’m a flatlander, but I love living off our land in Maine. I find it fascinating and challenging,” Lindall said.
He lives on an acre of wetland on Lessner Road, with his wife, Celista Lindall, their three dogs, one cat, and 10 Nigerian dwarf goats. “It’s plenty of work for us,” he said.
Their wetland homestead inspired Lindall to refer to his hobby on Instagram and Facebook as Swamp Yankey Leather.
In the near future, Lindall wants to sew tote bags out of feed and grain bags, using an antique sewing machine he recently purchased.
“You gotta stay busy somehow,” he said.
While Lindall does not plan to make the shift from hobby to business, he looks forward to gaining followers on Instagram and developing his craftsmanship through watching others.