Bossley Park deputy principal's leatherwork reaches international audience

Ann-Maree Ager is well-known in the Fairfield art scene and now she's making herself known overseas.

The talented painter and leather-craftswoman's work was featured on the front cover of the Leather Crafters and Saddlers Journal's 30th anniversary issue.

The United States-based magazine is syndicated internationally and is renowned for featuring the world's top artists.

Ms Ager said she was honoured to have her work featured in the magazine.

"I was shocked and really honoured - to have the cover of the magazine is a really big deal to me," she said.

"It took me a long time to come up with the design."

Ms Ager said she wanted to do something eye-catching and a little bit different for the cover art.

"I wanted to do something colourful, something that represented Australia and other crafters all over the world," she said.

"I took inspiration from the things around me - I live near a bush reserve so I went over there and took a lot of photos.

"I ended up creating this intricate woodlands-style piece that had a lot of colour in it.

"I used exotic skins too like lizard, cane toad, snake and even sting ray - and I have to thank some of my fellow leather workers who gave ,me some of their offcuts to use for the piece."

Ms Ager is no stranger earning top nods in the arts and crafts community.

She was the 2019 winner of the Capture Fairfield art section and has taken out awards at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

One of her more recent wins was at the South Western Leather Work Trade Show in Arizona, USA in 2020.

"It's one of the larger shows where people from all over the world send their pieces," Ms Ager said.

"I made an intricate Lionfish artwork which had more than 300 pieces of leather and it was only nine by seven inches big - and it won.

"I was planning to travel to Wyoming later that year to compete again but with Covid we couldn't get over there."

Ms Ager encouraged anyone interested in leatherwork to give it a go.

"It's a smaller community - definitely not as big as it was in the 70s - but it's very rewarding," she said.

"I love the feel and durability of leatherwork because you can wear it or turn it into a fine art piece.

"Google places where you can learn, the leatherwork community is very generous so whether you want to do belts, bags, clothes, jewellery or art - there is someone out there who will help you.

"I want to thank everyone who has supported me, especially my family, the leatherwork community and my school.

"It just goes to show that you can have a day job and follow your passions as well."