Cutting Room Floor

March 15, 2013

photo by Debora Smail

Interesting what ends up on the cutting room floor when you do press. Also interesting the things you learn when you stop moving at 100 mph to answer questions about what and why and how you are doing what you do. I recently answered some questions for Jef with one F at the Houston Press for their 100 Creatives feature. 

Here is a little more detail - on being a BAG BUILDER - that you won't read there.

What type of bags do you specialize in? What are your favorite creations?

I specialize in leather bags. My favorite creations are those that utilize rare or unique collected materials. Materials with innate character or an artistic patina something acquired by being well worn. When those materials can be properly showcased and honored, then I know I've got a good bag.

What got you into leatherworking?

I received a cow hide as a trade for some photography work and decided to stitch it up into a bag simply because I wanted something completely different from anything I'd ever seen .

Where are some of your favorite places your work has ended up?

Its pretty cool for how small I have been that my bags are in New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, and France. But I'm most honored to have them on the arms of friends and family. There is no higher compliment than when a friend honestly embraces your art and makes it part of their daily wardrobe.

What do you like most about leatherworking?

I see usability design and leatherwork as a series of focused and complex problem solving. Always iterating. Always designing. The work is constantly challenging.

What inspires you?

Three things.

First, I am inspired by collected materials and the challenge of creating a product that honors them.

Second, by fellow artists. Every collaboration since the beginning of Stash has left me energized. Rather than remaining isolated, I've been extraordinarily fortunate to connect with and collaborate with a number of creatives and I find that coming together inspires me deeply.

Third, by stories. Stories of materials. Stories of artists. Stories of challenges. Stories of grit and determination.

Do you have any specific influences?

Perhaps my greatest influence was my high school guidance counselor. She didn't think I was college material and thus didn't sign me up for the PSAT prep like all my classmates. Bless my mother, she fought this. And though I never did ace the SAT, I killed the ACT and ended up with a college scholarship. The moral of the story? I'm a gauntlet girl. If you think I can't do something, just throw it down and eat my dust.

I find my greatest influences are in other disciplines. I'd give you a list but it feels trite to bear association with folks like Cash, Mandela, Clemente, Roosevelt. Anyone with grit and determination and integrity influences me. Anyone with the audacity to bear through the difficult, the impossible, the naysayers. These are my greatest muses.

If you didn't work in Houston, where would you want to work?

If pressed, I'd say coastal Turkey. The lovely simplicity of the place, the history, old beauty, and abundant produce. But nearly anywhere warm near water.

If you weren't doing this, what would you want to be?

I have a painting of Roberto Clemente by Will Johnson hanging in the factory. It quotes Clemente. "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth." I'd like to think I'd be making a difference and if I could do that while being creative then any endeavor combining those two things would be just fine.

What future projects are you looking forward to?

A road-trip collection is in development. I'm looking forward to the release of that. But I'm especially looking forward to a number of artists and creatives that have been contacting us to do some work together. When we gather to build, good things happen and that is where I find my greatest measure of contentment resides.