It's been so many years since I worked for the unique handbag company Elizabeth Powell Leather Items in New York City. I was Elizabeth's right hand 'gal' and I loved working with and for her. She was an inspiring businesswoman and had a fun energy that she carried into her fun handbag designs. Unfortunately she has since closed shop but she had such a good run while she was at it! Her handbags were absolutely unique shapes and forms that were hand cut and hand stitched, and all made with an extensive palette of kidskin leather and suede.
It was while working for Elizabeth and watching her scrap bin grow that I was inspired to make the first leather flower that I designed and eventually offered to my Mom for Christmas that year. That one flower started an adventure into designing and making a collection of leather and suede flowers and eventually I took home all of Elizabeth's scraps. Making leather and suede flowers was an amazing chapter in my artistic life, but I'll leave that story for another time...
Anyway, back to my leather bin that's pictured above. Left to right: Scraps organized in the bin by color, the bigger pieces rolled up, all of the scraps spread over my work table, and another view of it in the bin by color.
Though it's been ages since I acquired any new scraps, most of the tiny pieces that I use in my jewelry these days are from the same scraps that I've been working with since way back in New York City. Now days. I don't use much leather and suede since my designs are centered around the ceramic elements, but I love adding accents in leather and suede just as I love to add other textiles to certain pieces. The truth is, I don't love the idea of supporting the leather industry, but because I only use this big batch of scraps that I acquired in the way distant past, I still allow myself to work with this beautiful material. The assortment of colors and textures in my bin is always inspiring to me and I rarely have a designing moment when I don't have a small piece of "exactly the right color" when I need it. Having the material and color that you have in mind in the moment is a treat, but actually just seeing this multicolored assortment in the sunshine is always visually stimulating to me!