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On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Michael Harris uses a mallet on a metal tool as he works on a hand-tooled leather guitar strap at his shop, Desert Moon Leather, in Biddeford. Prior to owning his own bricks-and-mortar store, Harris was working from his basement.

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Harris shows the initial outlines of his design. "I usually won't work more than two to three hours per sitting on hand tooling, any longer and my hand cramps up. The art can be really similar to what they use in tattoos, and a lot of tattoo designs can make some cool leather patterns," Harris said.

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Harris works on a hand-tooled guitar strap. He works on hand-tooling for just a few hours at a time to save his hands from cramping.

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Harris checks the line-up of his tooling pattern on the guitar strap.

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    The beginning of the shading work on a custom guitar strap.

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Harris grabs a roll of vegetable-tanned leather from underneath his work table.

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Rolls of vegetable-tanned leather in Michael Harris' leather shop, Desert Moon Leather in Biddeford.

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Since expanding his business to include retail items, like full leather hides, tools and metal fixtures, Harris has also been able to start teaching classes. "It's the little things that have surprised me. Around the shop I can show people how to use tools, and then I've been surprised how much I enjoy doing classes, especially when someone gets excited about it," Harris said.

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    On the Job: Michael Harris, Desert Moon Leather - Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    In 2014, Harris won the Heart of Biddeford award, which allowed him to open his shop on Biddeford's Main Street.

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