Peter Main - 1998 Al Stohlman Award Winner

Ann Stohlman Honours Peter Main

By Ann Stohlman


It was always Al’s wish that Peter Main be an Al Stohlman Award recipient.  In fact, when the Award was first inaugurated in 1983, Al wanted Peter to be awarded the first one.  After much thought, we decided that we could not do that as each following year it may be expected that we would make the award personally.  That would have been a task we would be unable to fulfill with all of our other work we had to do.

We first met Peter in 1982 on the first of many visits to our home in Canada.  This meeting was arranged by Ken Gregson who had the foresight to realize we should meet this man from Australia.  We were so impressed, not only by his work, but by Peter himself.

Many letters, photos, and visits followed throughout the years.  Al was always amazed by Peter’s work; he used to say ‘he’s just too good.’  Whenever we had friends visit and they would admire whatever AL was working on at that time, he would just pass it off and say ‘you should see what Peter Main can do’, then take out and proudly show the latest photos Peter had sent.  I remember one visit; we had just started laying out our saddle books.  Peter saw a rough sketch of a proposed cover.  It read “OUR SECRETS OF SADDLE MAKING”.  The following day Peter said he was thinking about the cover and suggested it should be called “THE STOHLMAN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SADDLE MAKING” with the sub-title “OUR SECRETS BY AL AND ANN STOHLMAN”.  AL thought about it for a moment and agreed, wrote down the new title and pinned it to the wall.  It was only weeks after this visit that a color layout of our cover arrived from Peter; it was perfect. 

We got another surprise some months later when color photos and transparencies arrived featuring our cover in leather.  The work was so precise; a true master’s touch.  Peter’s contribution didn’t finish there.  As a graphic artist with his own studio in Sydney, he has a thorough knowledge of print production.  He had black and white photos screened and printed as samples to show us the way to produce our books more efficiently and error free.  He also assisted greatly with typography and page layouts.  We were so grateful for all of this, but that is the way of Peter, always willing to help, not only us but anyone that cares to ask.

We were honoured to be able to write a “Foreword” for Peter’s book “Australian Leather Carving”.  It seems just a small gesture in return for all he has done for us.

We always knew Peter’s talents would keep expanding.  He is known not only for one special part of Leather Art and Craft, but many.  His creative design sense, fine binding techniques, pictorial and figure carving, construction and assembly and hand sewing.  His coloring techniques are the best we have seen and the list goes on.  Peter also has the unique ability to teach, to share all his knowledge.  Over the years we have heard nothing but praise for Peter’s Workshops. 

It is an honour for me to grant Al’s wish of presenting Peter with the Al Stohlman Award.  Peter Main is truly the world leather in Leather Art and Craft today.


"Ann Stohlman Honours Peter Main”. The Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal.  March/April 1999: p 20. Print.