Takeshi Yonezawa

“Takeshi ‘Yone’ Yonezawa has spent over a decade perfecting his design and leatherworking skills. His journey into the craft began in Tokyo, and ultimately led to the founding of Yonezawa Leather. Yone crafts each of his creations by hand, resulting in unique pieces that are meticulously constructed, functional in form, and refined in style.”

Artist, craftsman and owner Takeshi ‘Yone’ Yonezawa started leatherwork over twenty years ago in Tokyo, Japan. A former guitarist, he started working with leather as a hobby, but now pursues his passion full-time in Portland, Oregon. World-renown for his innovative lifelike sculptures and fine craftsmanship, Yone has won multiple awards and has been featured in publications and art galleries.

There is a Japanese proverb, “What one loves, one does well.” My passion for leatherwork drives me to continually seek knowledge. One thing people often forget is that knowledge is the accumulation our predecessors’ history; it is impossible for someone to learn completely alone. I learned through seminars, books, museum visits, and conversations with industry professionals.

My name is Takeshi Yonezawa, but everyone calls me “Yone.” I have been doing leatherwork for over twenty years and I specialize in bespoke leather goods and lifelike art sculptures. I have learned from master craftsmen from both Japan and the US, and I try to mix those influences and cultures to create my own unique and powerful style.

If I were to describe myself as an artist, I’d say that I have the curiosity of a child, an observational eye, and am meticulous – especially to details or nuances others often overlook or rush past.

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