Leather Mugs history...
I made my first mug in January of '05. They are all serial numbered starting with the number 1. They are the same shape and size as the mugs made by Mac at Thistle Leather for 25+ years.
I am not Thistle Leather! There is no Thistle Leather even though some people will tell you they are. They are made in the same way but the appearance is different because we both had our own style. I chose to make a few changes so that as soon as you pick it up you'll know it's one of mine, not Mac's. That is because of the new handle design. It's a two layer peice thinned at the edges and with a slight flare at the top.
Mac used to number his mugs and I thought that was a tradition I wanted to continue. Again to be different I chose to put the serial number on the bottom along with" LaVigne Leather". Mac put the serial number on the handle along with his trademark thistle stamp. It was a long process to get the construction just right.
Every time I do a production run ( typically about 100 pc.) I figure out one or two things to ease assembly and to improve the appearance. A lot of the designs are hand tooled and some are made by pressing antique brass stamps into them. The tooling and staining are really the fun part. I also am doing some with laser engraving. As far as I know I'm the only one, (so far). In a visit to Trish's house (Mac's wife) a year ago I purchased some Misc. equipment and in the course of our conversation we agreed that I would pay her $1.00 Per mug as a royalty, my choice.
Last year at the Minnesota Renaissance festival I was still struggling to keep what shelves I had full of mugs. Right now I have 5 times what I started with. My goal is to have 2000 mugs ready by August. And thanks to all the great people at the fair for the great ideas for designs. Like Janessa and Mark (glitter). By August I expect to have 100's of designs. Keep checking the website. It will be changing.
UPDATE! Last fall I bought 62 designs from Trish McMillen. These designs were hand carved by Mac and reproduced in epoxy. When I first saw them I was amazed. He did them for reproduction so he took a lot of time carving them. I've made about 2 of each design and I think they turned out good. I hope to post them before the first of the year.