You know that kid from high school who always went by Jimmy but keeps trying to get people to call him James? That's Juancho. He always introduces himself as Juan, but always ends up being called Juancho.
"I want people to know that our work is 100% handmade, I want people to value the work. All of the work that goes into that bag. I want people to wonder - was the person who made this bag happy that day? Was he sad? Was the sun shining? Was he hanging out with his girlfriend? I'm not talking about value in terms of price, I'm talking about what's behind each piece of work."
Juan Carlos Hernandez has been a leatherworker for 13 years. He enrolled at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios Santo Domingo, a technical school for artisans in Bogota, and stumbled into leatherworking. "They had classes for woodworking, silversmithing, and leatherworking," Juancho explains. "The other two courses were full. But I enjoyed leatherworking from day one." One of his professors invited him to the workshop. That professor was Cesar, and they have been working together ever since.
His favorite part of the leatherworking process is punching the holes to prepare the pieces to be sewn together. But Juancho also designs his own bags, specializing in braids. "I took a class at school on leather braiding, but I mostly learned by reading a book and practicing on my own. I like that a braid is complicated. It makes my pieces stand out, it makes them unique."
Juancho dreams of being able to travel around the world and run his own leather workshop. Aside from leatherworking, Juan loves riding his bike, watching new movies, and listening to music. He says that bike riding is cool, in this order:
3. Riding a bike.
2. Riding a bike while listening to music.
1. Riding a bike while listening to music and while with a girl you like.
"I like leatherworking because it's relaxing, it makes me happy. It's interesting work... you could say it's exclusive. There aren't many people doing this. I mean, there are a lot of bags out there - but work like what we do, it's hard to find."