THE scent of leather has followed Bruce Erskine from North Sydney to Montserrat, from the Adelaide Hills to Vanuatu, from Nimbin to Leura.
For the past quarter century, it has seeped into his fingertips while he stitched shoe after shoe among the tanned hides in his Bellingen workshop on the mid-north coast.
The softly-spoken grandfather, whose rough hands put aside a part-made medieval boot only to roll a cigarette, <a href="http://www.cheapclsneakers.com/christian-louboutin-high-boots/W03BiwIyJJ.html" title="Christian Louboutin Stretch Platform OTK Boot">Christian Louboutin Stretch Platform OTK Boot</a> is a rare breed of craftsman in a country where manufacturing has largely been outsourced to China.
''In my particular niche, there's no-one else as far as I know,'' Mr Erskine said. And so when the Australia movie needed orphan shoes and the television show, My Place, needed convict boots, they came to the leatherman's shop at the back of the Old Butter Factory on Waterfall Way.
''They send us a photo and I do some research and make a prototype,'' he said. ''They send us a list of sizes and we have loads of fun ageing them up.''
He gets orders for opera productions, odd jobs for the fashion world, some theatre work, and occasional orders for high-end camera cases, knife sheaths, motorcycle gear and saddles.<a href="http://www.cheapclsneakers.com" title="christian louboutin uk">christian louboutin uk</a>
But if movies or television shows need any more than a thousand shoes, they go to China, Mr Erskine said.
The 61-year-old, the son of an oil company executive, said he started out as a medical student at the University of Sydney, but a '70s bohemian share house with dancers, potters, silversmiths and film-makers sent him down a different path.
''I got on this roll of discovering how to make things and have fun,'' he said. ''[Leatherwork] was something that was in the air at the time and I thought: 'I'll do this for a while and then try silver-smithing.'
''My parents were really pissed about no doctor and said I'd never make a living out of this and so I've spent most of my life trying to prove them wrong.''
There have been lean times - albeit in exotic surroundings. Following a stint in Nimbin with his wife, Antonia, and a few years based in Adelaide teaching his skills to outback communities and learning saddlery, he took his young family to the ''emerald isle of the Caribbean'', Montserrat.