Leather School

Bea Amblard a Hermés trained master leather artisan opened Amblard Leather Atelier in 2012.  Her main goal is to share the generational craftsmanship with her students. She wants to ensure that the craft she is passionate about does not disappear completely. Amblard Leather Atelier is the only leather school in San Francisco and the premier place in the US where you can learn the basic understanding of leather working using traditional hand tools.  “Mastering the art of leather not only teaches an age-old artisan craft, but also builds confidence and self-esteem and with those, all things are possible” says Bea.


The first 9 months of the 12-month program at Amblard Leather Atelier teach the ins and outs of working with leather by hand. The last 3 months is an introduction to using machinery and the handwork you have mastered, together. Students complete predetermined projects at their own pace and the amount of pieces created by the end of each session depend solely on the individual.  Students pride themselves in designing and making custom leather goods from wallets to briefcases and handbags.  Master Leather Artisan, Beatrice Amblard is receiving rave reviews and compliments from students – her unique teaching methods are popular and well liked by all students.  We offer a 1-year program and it consists of beginner, intermediate, advanced, and master level sessions. Each session meets once a week for 12 consecutive weeks. Classes are limited to no more than 10 students.

Materials and Tools: When you sign up for classes all materials (pattern paper, leather, cardboard, foam, etc.) and tools you need to complete projects are provided. Tools include ruler, straight edge, cutting knife, glue, compass, pricking iron, mallet, sharp awl, round awl, sewing clamp, hammer, edge dye, bee’s wax, burnishing iron, and wax cloth… just to name a few.  All you need is your enthusiasm.

Beginner Classes

Leather accessories made by leather school students

In our beginner session you will be introduced to working with leather purely by hand. You will learn about the essential tools needed to work with leather, pattern making, cutting, assembling, stitching, and hand finishing. By working on a specific sequence of projects, you will have learned the symmetry pattern making technique, progressive pattern making skills, assembling and finishing techniques.
Click here to view Beginner Syllabus

Advanced Classes

Advanced leather handbag made by Amblard Leather Atelier school in San Francisco
In our advanced session you will learn to complete more complicated designs and advanced construction techniques such as rounded handles. You will also be introduced to hand skiving techniques. The pattern making will focus on more intricate patterns. By the end of this session, you should feel competent using the symmetry pattern method, assembling and finishing your leather goods solely by hand.
Click here to view Advanced Syllabus.

Intermediate Classes

Intermediate students making leather goods

In our intermediate session we will move onto larger projects.

You will learn about the basic bag structure, additional construction, stitching, and finishing techniques. Each project will present additional processes and skills

Click here to view Intermediate Syllabus.

Master Classes

Master student at Amblard Leather Atelier made this leather handbag

In our master session you will learn how to combine the handwork learned in the past 9 months with basic sewing machine techniques. Plus, be introduced to machine skiving. The pieces will focus on more complex patterns that will require you to use your most advanced tools, including the hand skiver and sewing machine. By the end of this session, you will have accomplished all the skills needed to create your own fabulous fine leather goods.
Click here to view Master Syllabus.

Evening Classes

Unavailable in the day? Would like to just try it out?  Attend an evening class. Our evening class is a non-commitment class that you can sign up for when you would like to attend.  In these classes, you will learn the same skills taught in our beginner session. Evening class meets every Tuesday from 6:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M.  For list of projects please see Beginner Syllabus.

Intensive Classes

We also offer a 1-week, 2-week, 3-week or 3-month intensives.  Intensives are only scheduled upon availability during our regular session classes, they are not private classes and you will be attending with our regular scheduled students. Our intensives cover the same exact curriculum as our year program and go through projects sequentially at your own pace.  

Contact us at office@amblardleatheratelier.com or (415) 750 – 9910 for more information.

Leather School Testimonials

"The environment inspires creativity and keeps strong ties to traditional practices... it generates enthusiasm" - Sophie

“Beatrice has the gift of patience. Her ability to adapt her teaching to each student’s specific skills and pace makes her particularly apt at creating a sense of achievement in each and everyone. She gives her time to everyone equally and generates enthusiasm and a sense of camaraderie in the class.

Her work ethic and professionalism are held at the highest standards. The atelier environment inspires creativity and keeps strong ties to traditional practices. Beatrice is passionate and generous… she is a master in the art of leather craft. She loves her work. Shares her passion with each student.

The most important thing I learned is the respect for the true handmade work and the real amount of work that each piece requires which justifies the price of a true hand made bag.

I signed up for the class because leather is a noble material and I wanted to learn more about it. I signed up to learn about the practices but I ultimately stayed because of Beatrice and the very special teaching atmosphere she has created.”

– Sophie

"I am learning the old world techniques. Fine craftsmanship and technical expertise Bea has to offer..." - Claudia

I specifically signed up for Bea’s classes because I wanted to learn the old world techniques. There may be a lot of styles of leather work but I was interested in the fine craftsmanship and technical expertise Bea has to offer.

Like any art or craft classes the more you put into it the more you get out of it.While Bea has structured the learning process in a clear sequence that builds on itself it is always possible to bring your own ideas to bear within the parameters of the class.

It is wonderful to be in a workshop atmosphere and see different approaches and skills. The most important thing I have learned is the patience and focus required by an old craft. Humbling ……

"As a mentor and/or instructor Bea is superb. She knows all off the details of the craft of leatherwork...." - Dove

As a mentor and/or instructor, Bea is superb. It is a privilege to be taught by her because it is obvious that she knows all of the details of the craft of leatherwork. From the very first project that we work on in the first class, she guides us to avoid errors and encourages us to produce a product that we can be proud of. We are allowed to select the leather that we want to work with and we are taught how to make the pattern, cut the leather and do the hand stitching. Even though we are just learning, Bea teaches us what we need to know at that point, and as time goes on, she teaches us more details and helps us to see where we need improvement. Bea’s eye sees everything! But she is infinitely patient and never makes anyone feel like an idiot.

I love Bea’s classes. They are small, just the right size. Each person has a whole table with adequate space and all of the necessary tools. Everyone is working on something different and it is always delightful to see all of the imaginations at work. Bea constantly moves around the room, helping each person and keeping them on track, and if you need help at any time, it is simple to get Bea’s attention.

The classes are 12 weeks long and each 12-week class completes a set of leather items. The beginning class completes a lot of small projects, and as you progress through the series of classes, the projects become more difficult and take longer to complete. However, even though the set of items is predetermined, there are still a lot of decisions to make: the color of leather, both for the outside and the inside, and the pockets and straps; the size and shape of the more advanced projects; zipper size and color, hardware for straps, and so on. No two student creations are identical. It is always a delight to see what the other students have done with the same project I have done.

The most important thing I have learned is that this is a very exacting craft, and once you have made a hole in leather, it’s there forever. I am used to fabric sewing which allows us to work around or camouflage our mistakes, but with leatherwork you have to live with the errors so there’s a great incentive to follow the old saying, “measure twice, cut once”. I have also come to appreciate the amount of design, work and planning that goes into creating what looks like a simple thing. There is a lot of hidden work.

I signed up for the class because I saw the work that the students were doing and Bea assured me that I would be able to do those things too. I thought I would like to make some simple things, a belt or two, a card case, maybe a zippered item. But even in the first 12-week course I made two clutch bags, a wallet, a glasses case, and many more items. I have continued through the whole series of classes and have loved every minute.

– Dove

"Bea is an expert whose methods are efficient and precise yet she is extremely creative. She is also kind and gentle..." - Mandana

I feel very fortunate and grateful to be Bea’s student. She is an expert whose methods are efficient and precise yet she is extremely creative. Bea is very supportive of my ideas and is always there to offer a solution when I make a mistake. Her knowledge of leather and the design and implementation of objects in leather never ceases to amaze me. She is also kind and gentle.

The classes themselves are the perfect way to learn — the lessons are built into the pieces that we make and whenever we make a mistake, even though Bea helps us fix it, we never forget the mistake.The
atmosphere of working in close proximity to other like minded students is really nice.

The most important things that I have learned are the skills and the techniques of proper pattern making, cutting, sewing and finishing different pieces with unique design characteristics in a technically precise way.

I signed up for Bea’s class because I wanted to learn how to be the best from someone who is, in my opinion, the best in this country.

"Bea is a gem and an excellent teacher. She created a wonderful learning environment that is creative, supportive..." - Evi

Learning the art of leather crafting with Bea has been life changing for me and her classes are one of the highlights of my week. I love the immersion in the work as it has so many different dimensions at play at all times, design, pattern making, constructing, attention to details, working with my hands, brain and heart. My creativity has grown and expanded in new and unexpected ways.

Professionally I am a business consultant. Being engaged in working with the leather often brings new ideas and insights about my professional work and takes me in directions I had not foreseen. I find it satisfying to practice the historic art of saddle stitching and to help keep this wonderful craft alive.

Bea is a gem and an excellent teacher. She has created a wonderful learning environment that is creative, supportive, interesting and warm. Her methods of teaching ensure the steps and techniques are deeply ingrained over the course of the classes and as the complexity of the projects increase.

"How lucky I feel to have met Beatrice, a woman of vision, an amazing teacher and artist. She expects us to achieve our highest potential." - Kristenn

Spending a day every week in the back of the charming boutique has been life changing. I will never look at the world in the same way, and for the first time I feel the pride of having made my own hand-made pieces with a rare savoir-faire.

Bea has the ability of passing on the love that she feels for her craft and is adapting her teaching style to each of her student, always with patience and inspiration. She never compromises on her teaching principles and is expecting her students to achieve their highest potential. The class is convivial and the program makes learning in the old French tradition a dream come true.