Not only is the history of the Pict tribes attracting interest because of their mysterious past, so is Hamish Lamley’s passion on BBC television!

“Leatherwork is my connection to the past. It is my way to solve problems as our ancestors did, to work at my own pace and see the world as they did” Hamish – the artist behind Pictavia Leather.

What strikes me the most about Hamish and his practice, Pictavia Leather is the natural ability for his life and work that co-exist with one another: dedication and representing. Which is something we all strive for “Doing what you love in life”. If we can all take a little piece of Hamish’s zest and put that positive force into our own work, creativeness or family life, we will surely benefit from it.

Let’s hear a little from Hamish…

Besides your amazing Leather craftsmanship, you are working on 2D arts behind the scenes, where do you see this going in the future?

Craft has always come first for me, but over the years I have realised the importance of also honing my artwork. My artwork is not only vital for my leatherwork, in creating designs to carve, but also to illustrate my vision in regards to making Pictish history more accessible and relative. I enjoy writing blogs on my website dedicated to Pictish history and archaeology and drawing allows me to illustrate my points and get ahead in our visual world.

What inspires Hamish to recreate Pict (or ancient) leather artefacts?

When you hypothetically reverse engineer an ancient artefact and learn how to rebuild it, you connect with the original craftsman who made the artefact. Whether this is by relearning the same tips and tricks, making the same mistakes and overcoming them, or the satisfaction of completing the artefact and understanding how it fits into our lives.

Has the Covid pandemic affected your work life in a positive or negative way?

Covid has affected my work drastically. In one avenue it has closed off teaching courses, which stems learning and growth. But on the other side, the silver lining I have found is having more free time to pursue projects I normally don’t have time for, which brings a new creative avenue forth.

If you were living in the 5th century what would your name be and where would you live?

This is a easy question, because my occupation and location would not change throughout any time period. I am a traditional leatherworker, based in the heart of Scotland (or Pictland). Going back to the 5th Century, my name may derive from its Gaelige origins of Seamus. But generally, my life wouldn’t change much.

My favourite historical place to visit is…

Oh is it fair to play favourites?  My favourite historical place to visit is any that I can connect with. When I can walk through the entrance way to an iron age hillfort and picture as it could have been, bustling with life and power or feel the door handle in a medieval castle where thousands of hands have touched or paddle my coracle up a loch that would have been busy with Crannogs. It’s all fascinating if you can peel back the layers of history.

Norsemans purse (bark tanned deerskin)
Norsemans purse (bark tanned deerskin)

Hamish Lamley (Pictavia Leather) in his workshop.
Hamish Lamley (Pictavia Leather) in his workshop.

Pictish Stag day Sporran
Pictish Stag day Sporran

Crannog Bags (Acorn tanned Scottish red deerskin)
Crannog Bags (Acorn tanned Scottish red deerskin)

Check out you won’t be disappointed!

The craftsmanship, insight into Pictish life/leather work is featured on … 

Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs series 4 episode 2 – A Fyne Tour

Secret Scotland with Susan Calman series 3 episode 3 – Fife and the East

and much more.

Follow the adventures at

I have high hopes for Hamish’s work, who knows maybe one day his leather craft will tour national museums or art galleries to showcase authentic recreations – pieces of the past. Pictavia Leather will be apart of our history regardless of where its path leads, just like other traditional tradespeople bringing us living history thats priceless. Jenny Catalano