Meet the Maker | Monty Lewis

Monty was obsessed with sporrans from a young age. Despite only having the smallest amount of Scottish blood in him, he was always put into a kilt at Christmas. One of their family friends was a 6ft tall Scotsman who wore a kilt and sporran – Monty was entranced. Finally, it was while wearing white tie at Scottish reeling balls as a teenager and being envious of the fabulous sporrans on display that he decided to make his own. His mother – a great collector – had some military sporrans at their home, so he customised one of these and started wearing it. He then used a sporran manufacturer to make some more, but he wasn’t happy with the quality so he paired up with an artisan leather worker – more used to making couture handbags – to make the pouch while he made the cantles and tassels. 

Monty studied Product Design and Furniture at university – a hands-on making course where he learnt many techniques and worked with many different materials. One of the things that most appeals to him about sporrans is that they incorporate so many different and varied elements. 

The front of his sporrans is made from Highland Cow or goat hides. Monty uses brass, shell or wood (notably wood from a burr elm that fell in a storm in Edinburgh’s Queen Street) to make his cantles, and he was recently awarded a QEST scholarship to develop his silverwork in order to use this skill on silver cantles. For the finials, he uses cow horn, bone or brass. For the passementerie (tassels) he is uniquely placed to commission hand-finished tassels from horsehair or gold and silver threads as his mother is the founder of the famous ribbon and trimmings shop, VV Rouleaux. 

When making bespoke sporrans, Monty looks to the wearer – is there a family coat of arms or a clan badge from which he can pluck images? The design and making process is a lengthy one as it involves so many elements, but the finished sporran is truly an heirloom piece – to be worn and admired but also treasured and passed down through the generations. 

Embark upon your own journey to create a custom sporran with Monty and discover The Fife Arms Coronation Collection now.

Written by Willo Horsbrugh