Len Canton began leatherworking in the early 1970s and one of the first outlets for his work was his stall at the weekly Casbah Market, Emmet Place in Cork, the city where he was born and raised.
During this time, Len developed an interest in back-to-the-land, self-sufficiency and alternative lifestyles, living in tipis, barrel-top wagons and rough and tumble cottages in various communities of like-minded people in both Ireland and Wales.
A return to urban life in the early to mid-nineties, saw Len selling his work at street festivals and markets and then taking up teaching and demonstrating his craft in the 2000s.
With his partner, Joan Casey, Len has run leathercraft workshops in the Greencrafts Village (see www.greencrafts.ie) at Eletric Picnic and All Together Now festivals since 2015 and at children’s play camps and summer schemes for more than 15 years.
He has been a tutor at the Centre for Environmental Living and Training (CELT, see www.celtnet.org) since 2010, teaching leatherwork at CELT events, such as the Weekend in the Woods and the Weekend in the Hills.
Len was one of a group of 5 craftspeople that came together for a short time in 2014 as the Lismore Craft Collective, to run a pop-up shop on Main St., Lismore, Co. Waterford. This project was a very successful experiment in combining making and selling craftwork in the one space.
Len returned to rural living in 2009 and he and Joan now live in a cottage outside Lismore, where they keep a vegetable garden and sometimes pitch their tipi. In 2020, he set up Market House Craftworks with Joan, felt-maker and mosaicist, and Jane Jermyn, ceramicist.