Leather, an Important Media?

The Smithsonian Craft Show opens today, and this show gets me to thinking about the medium we get up every morning to work with, and how it seems to be under represented at some shows, which is important to us, as it is how we make our living.

The breakdown of exhibitors at the Smithsonian Show this year is as follows:

Jewelry, 25     Ceramics, 20     Wearable Art, 13     Wood, 13     Furniture, 12     Glass, 11     Decorative Fiber, 9      Basketry 8,     Mixed Media, 6      Metal, 4     Paper, 4

Leather, 1

I began researching the history and importance of leather craft on the internet and came across some information from Tandy. For 33 centuries, man has used leather, a by product of his food, to clothe and shelter himself. Shoes were made to protect his feet. When man started to record his thoughts, he wrote on leather parchment , easier to carry than stone tablets. The paragraph below struck me:

“During the Middle Ages, however, only the wealthy could afford boots, capes, saddles, etc. made of leather. Leather workmanship was limited to a very narrow section of society. A secretive lot, Leather Guildsmen closely guarded knowledge of their art which they handed down from father to son.”

We have been over the course of our 33 year career, mostly self taught in the medium, as other than these types of very limited apprenticeships, there are no “schools”, “societies” or “guilds” to learn from.  We were on board when F.I.T. launched its limited leather program, and Toshiki taught the decorative techniques class for a while.  So much skill is involved in using the medium, which as a natural product, no two skins are alike, to sew it, you can use machines but once the needle pierces the skin, you are committed. There is much hand manipulation to stretch and form.

Also there is so much long term value and beauty to leather, people have loved it to feel and to use, to protect and serve them, for centuries.

So why the snub from some shows?  Is it still not as relevant today as it was in 1300 B.C.?  I have seen some very interesting work being done in the medium.

Have you? Would you like to see more of what can be done in this medium?

Seen at & near the Whitney, NYC

I often wander around the museums of New York, as I plan to do tomorrow. My haphazard approach often leads me to unexpected sightings, as did this day last september.  Headed to the Whitney to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, I also saw these delightful sights, as relevantly cheerful this spring as they were in the fall.


On my way over, sights on Park Avenue


Yayoi in the cafe at the Whitney


 Sharon Hayes


Listening to a piece by Sharon Hayes.    Isn’t she great?

Sneak Peak! The Leather Coat

Sneak PeakNew patterns, ideas, in the works, thanks to prodding from clients who want to see a comeback

It will take the summer to work it all out, but it feels good getting back to working in lambskin

Any ideas for one of your own? Get on the list, we are taking requests

Sculptural Illusions on Dune Road

When we took a drive a few weeks ago along Dune Rd. in Westhampton Beach, there was an unexpected visual. All the shrubs along the roadway were still wrapped from the harsh winter. Very sculptural and reminiscent of my college days in the fiber departement, aspiring to Magdelana Abakanowicz, Claire Zeisler, Josep Grau-Garriga………..

As our next hurricane season is predicted to be more severe than the last, maybe it is their chance to do something really creative with the wrappings…….Christo, are you busy?  IMG_1472




The Collar of the Year

You just couldn’t get enough shearling this cold winter, and cold spring, we had and are still having here in the northeast.  This new big collar design turned out to be functional, whimsical and a stylin’ hit

In our 2012 collection it was on a nipped waist jacket, can’t wait to try it on new shapes in 2013!

What do you think?




Riverhead Ritual

The saturday before Easter always means a trip to Riverhead to the Polish grocery store on Pulaski Street to get a special kielbasa made for the holiday. This year the day was sunny and warm, so we were definitely in the mood for moseying around. We checked out some of the local architecture, which really made us feel like we had taken a trip to Poland.

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After that we checked out Main St, and this shop caught our eye as it happens to be our house number too, so we snapped some photos, of 73MAIN


The proprietor/designer, Danielle Gisiger, came out and invited us in, much to our delight as she definitely has a line of well designed and made clothing, and a whimsical eye carrying all sorts of fun accessories, art, furniture………anything that captures her imagination.

And she was such a pleasure to meet, fun and talented, so Riverhead is now a destination, to shop here, as well as some good new restaurants, a great consignment shop and theatre.


But being the first day I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin, a walk on Cupsogue beach had to be taken, still a bit disheveled from Sandy, but so beautiful.

What a great day!