Pssst…this isn’t Cynthia; it’s her husband, Christopher. She wanted me to do a review for a piece I ordered for the 18th century costume she’s making for me. So here it is.
I’ve needed a new sporran for my kilt for awhile, now. Since I need a sporran that can come close enough to being 18th century accurate for costuming and be modern enough for contemporary wear, I went with a Rob Roy sporran, made by Joe Gondek. I know the sporran in this review is not 100% 18th century accurate; down the line, I’d definitely love getting a tan sporran from Joe that’s wholly accurate to the time. He did such a wonderful job making this sporran by hand that I will purchase another sporran from him.
I’ve been using an entry-level sporran for quite some time, and while it’s served me well, I’ve wanted something nicer for quite some time. I finally purchased a couple pairs of nice, wool kilt hose–and my wife knitted some hose garters that go well with both pairs of hose. I needed a sporran worthy of some of the higher quality accessories I’ve accumulated, so a handmade sporran made by Joe Gondek seemed a logical step. Joe makes period-accurate sporrans for re-enactors, and sporrans for contemporary use. What he charges for the sporrans he makes is a steal–especially after receiving the sporran he made for me, knowing I needed something for a roughly accurate 18th century costume and modern wear.
My old sporran lacked room for keys, wallet, phone, and anything else I might want to carry. More than that, it seemed weak at the sides, and even hung very light on the hanger and chain. The Gondek sporran hangs heavy enough on its own; full of anything I might need, it hangs perfectly. More than that, I can carry anything just shy of a VW Beetle in the sporran; it’s very roomy without looking large. When worn with my kilt, it’s a perfect size. While I have yet to wear it out and about, it’s so nice that I’ve worn it around the house, and the break-in time for the fastener has been fast. Already, even with brand new leather, I’m able to open and close the sporran quickly. Nice for being out and about.
I’m sure Joe’s made enough sporrans that it didn’t take him a very long time to finish the construction of my sporran, but looking at the construction, if I had a son, I’d be able to pass this sporran down to him. I see this sporran lasting me for years! More than that, though, is knowing it was made by somebody constructing kilt accessories out of love of history and wearing the kilt in modern times. More than anything, I love that I can wear this sporran with a costume my wife is working on for me and for going out in 2010. While not fully 18th century accurate, this sporran wasn’t made to be 100% accurate to the time. It’s the perfect sporran for my needs: nice enough to wear with a costume from another time, but hip enough to wear today and tomorrow.
Joe’s communication during the construction was great. He was camping when we first placed the order, but when he returned from his trip, he went right to work. The sporran shipped before Joe received payment. Once we told Joe we were sending payment, he sent the sporran. We received the sporran a day before Joe received our payment. I know that’s no biggie to some, but when you’re waiting for something new from USPS, you want it as soon as you can get it. It’s nice that there’s somebody out there who trusts the people he’s making things for to send merchandise after hearing that payment has been sent.
More than that, the things Joe makes…they are nicer than what you can find for much more. He does this out of love, and it shows in every stitch.
I don’t know Joe Gondek personally, but I will definitely be ordering another sporran or two from him in the future. I don’t think I can beat the price and quality. He also makes handmade sgian dubhs…I can think of no better person to make the next kilt accessory I plan to purchase.
I used to feel that the kilt I owned deserved better accessories; after purchasing this sporran from Joe, I need a new kilt worthy of his handiwork!