G’day! I'm Matty Boys the founder of Foster and Boys Knife Making and Leather Craft. I grew up on a high country station in the Hakataramea Valley, in the South Island of New Zealand.
I've always had the urge to create and I would spend hours as a kid with my Grandad, Johnny Foster, in his workshop. We would make anything from tool handles to fish hooks. There was something about the process of taking an idea and making it come to life with basic tools and a bit of elbow grease that has really resonated with me as I've grown up.
In 2015, while I was living in the Canadian Rocky Mountains with my wife Nicole, I felt drawn to local artists who used wood, steel and leather. This ignited an interest in blacksmithing, tool making and ultimately knife making. It was here, in Canada where I really started to believe what I was put on this earth to do. Maybe it's what my grandparent's knew all along, and that is to create. To create meaningful objects that are made to last, with ingredients similar to what the old folks used in simpler times. Tools built to last, because well... they had to!
After moving back to New Zealand I began sourcing tools and equipment to make my first knife. I spent hours reading books and watching knife making tutorials on YouTube to ensure my first knife was a success. My Grandad Johnny had since passed on but I was privileged enough to inherit some of the very tools I used as a lad as well as some of my ancestors blacksmithing tools. My first knife was made from O1 tool steel with a Rimu wood handle, the first of many and the start of a lifelong passion.
My Nana Audrey who also had a huge influence on my creativity as a child had fallen ill and was in hospital. Knowing she may not have a lot of time left, I snuck the knife into the ward so she would have the chance to see it. It was here where I told her that I would be naming the brand in honour of her and Johnny’s contribution to my upbringing and creativity. Nana's reaction was pretty awesome.
Once I had a few knives under my belt, the need for a sheath to store them in became apparent, which started my journey into the world of traditional leather craft which i'm only just tapping into.
One of the best things about making knives and leather goods is the fact that one day, maybe even decades away, I might stumble across them again - having developed even more character than when they left my hands.
Officially, Foster & Boys was born in the summer of 2017, but the foundations were laid during the time I spent with my Grandad in his workshop as a young fella.