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A Magazine for Sheffield

Reyt Woof

Bespoke drum-maker has reimagined his craft for the canine fraternity.

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Georgina Martin

Prior to the pandemic, Rich Birkin of Barkby Drum Co. spent his days hand-crafting drums and accessories for the percussively inclined.The impact of Covid on the music industry has been well documented and these effects have reached far and wide, with traders like Rich seeing a decline in enquiries. So to keep the dream alive, Rich turned his hand to the creation of accessories for our four-legged friends.

Tell us a bit about yourself and the Barkby origin story.

Barkby Drum Co. was started as a tribute to my great grandfather, Jack Barkby. A cobbler, carpenter and all-round jack of all trades.I've played the drums for 20 years, taught drums, worked in a drum shop and I'm one half of the aggressive motown duo Hot Soles. It seemed natural that if I were to make things that it would be for musicians, so I crafted my leather working and tooling skills making bespoke snare drums, guitar straps, instruments and menswear for musicians.

Dog and Bone 25 websize
Ellie Grace Photography
Dog and Bone 35 websize
Ellie Grace Photography

You've recently made the switch from handcrafting drums and drum accessories to making leather and wax cotton goods for canine pals. What prompted this transition?

Covid has hit the music industry hard. So with everyone getting their 'lockdown dog' it seems wise to add a new meaning to Barkby. Handily, the brand lent itself to dog collars and accessories. It helps that I've got more than 100 vintage wax jackets which look pumping on your canine friends in The Peaks.

Your website is home to a beautiful range of leather products. What are your plans for expanding the collection to include more dog accessories?

If you can think of it, we can make it. I'm constantly creating new products so would love to do collabs with owners. We make everything bespoke, so can add names or detailing.

Dog and Bone 38 websize
Ellie Grace Photography
Rilo 3 websize
Ellie Grace Photography

Are we right in thinking you also take on bespoke commissions? Which have been your favourite pieces to design so far?

We absolutely do. Leatherwork lends itself to so many industries. I've had some requests recently from the film and cheffing industries, and I'm hoping to make more camera straps and some scabbards. I love the Sheffield legend Prince Naseem, so with a bit of inspo from his famous shorts I've been experimenting with a wilder side. The Legends range is a leopard print dream come true.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the coming year?

Dress every dog in South Yorkshire so they can be a #REYTWOOF...

But on a serious note: weather this storm, collab with more musicians and creatives, and make some amazing gear.

by Felicity Jackson (she/her)

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