Chris enjoyed leatherworking as a hobby, and when Chad and Shane were young, he taught them a bit of the craft. In Cancer on Two Wheels, Chris talks about how he taught Shane some more of leathercrafting when Shane was in middle school. The last time they shared this hobby was Thanksgiving week 2013.
After his father’s death, Shane decided to teach himself more of the skill as he worked through his grief. His ability has far surpassed anything his father knew how to do. I thought you’d enjoy hearing how Shane decided to pay tribute to his dad by making this his living:
I can still remember my dad pulling out his leather tools to do some work on a wallet pattern at the kitchen table. I was maybe four or five years old and was excited to see what he was about to do. That night, he created a memory that would last a lifetime as he introduced me to leatherwork, patiently helping me as I clinched the swivel knife with my entire hand, trying to stay on the line.
As years passed, we both pulled the tools out of the closet to dabble here and there, only to stash them away once more.
A few years after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, he dug the tools out of the closet in search of escape. It was then that I finally fell in love with the craft. Leatherwork created a new opportunity to bond with my dad, which I had been longing for since his treatment ruled out baseball and cycling. My dad helped me complete a wallet that year—the first functional leather piece I’d ever made.
In 2016 I decided to delve into the creative possibilities that leatherwork offers. I started with a journal, a Bible cover, and then a guitar strap. Requests began to roll in, and I sold my first piece. I had already exhausted my dad’s knowledge of the craft, but every new project I started, I would, at some point, carry to him for approval.
On June 25, 2016, my dad’s six-year battle with cancer came to an end, but I determined to carry on with the leatherwork. After selling numerous pieces to friends and family, I decided to officially launch my own business, Homage Leatherworks. I remember my dad telling me he was offered the chance to sell belts at his local leather shop when he was younger, but he turned down the opportunity. When faced with the same decision, I chose to set up shop for the both of us.
With each custom piece I create, there comes a time when I think about showing him what I’ve made. Although it’s a painful reminder that it’s no longer an option, it also serves to remind me that a piece of my father lives on through me. I want to create not only beautiful leather goods, but pieces as meaningful to the buyer as they are to me, to be cherished forever.
This is my homage.
In memory of Chris Haga
You can see Shane’s high-end handmade leather goods by visiting the sites below.
To see samples of many of Shane's other creations all in one place, click on the Instagram link below:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the products or services I have mentioned (I'm just proud of my son's work). I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."