Espedito Seleiro: When Leather Means Art


Nova Olinda is a calm, warm town in the heart of the northeastern hinterlands. It is there, on the “Cariri”, southern Ceará, that leather is transformed into art.

Espedito Seleiro has been making cowboy  outfits for decades, plus furniture, shoes, boots, and leather accessories. He’s been called an artist and a designer, has fulfilled orders from the movies and television, and has earned the Cultural Merit title from the Brazilian Ministry of Culture. The truth, however, is one: Espedito is an endangered species, keeping the traditional saddler job he is named after, and which is hard to find, alive. This job is his  family heritage, a talent he got from his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather.

Purses, wallets, boots, sandals, briefcases, hats, chairs… Espedito is a true leather craftsman.

He began making cowboy outfits and horse accessories – pouches, gaiters, doublets, saddles, and every other piece to equip the animals. Then, technology reached the hinterlands, and horses and cowboys began to fade away, along with the saddlers and the leathercrafting culture. Espedito, then, made the decision that would turn his life around: “I wasn’t