Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy weekend!

This weekend is big!

And it is one those, I look forward to the most throughout the year - a Holiday Weekend...

So, what I will be doing this weekend is - being entertained; having spiced drinks, aromatic wine, tea and treats, steamed veggies and gravy; opening and passing gifts, phoning my overseas family; wearing wool socks and sleeping in...

I love this time of year for so many reasons, and have over time developed a few tested tricks, that keep Holidays fresh and fun for me, every year:

I finish my big shows before December, so I have no huge last minute projects on top of everything else - it feels so great, to know, big set-ups and tear-downs are over;

I decorate my studio in a different way each year, but with just basics, such a the tree and some lights, so there is not much to put away after it is all over;

I don't wait till last minute to gift shop, so I can enjoy it;

I set aside the work I have been really looking forward to doing, because it makes me forget how exhausted I can be from all the shows, events and run-around, - and reminds me exactly, what I love about my biz;

I go to see a non-Holiday film, so I don't get overloaded;

I do not entertain at home, rather meet friends in a restaurant I really like, which reduces work immensely;

...and I start cocktail hour early....

What's everyone doing; and how do you survive the Holiday rush?...

X-mas at our studio, picture taken last year

Happy Weekend, everyone, and - Happy Holidays!

Posted by Jolanta

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tasmain: New Materials, New Skills (to learn)...

One of the perks in my line of work is contacts with the savvy Fashion Students. They have a great network and information resources through their schools, and they do not mind sharing it with us, self trained folk...  During the launch party of my line at Blushing Boutique last year, one very savvy young lady tipped me off, that a fur coat business in my neighbourhood is closing down – and they are selling off their supplies... I knew that they would be a great source for beautiful, well kept, soft garment weight leather, just waiting to get rescued amidst their mayhem of pre-closure down-sizing. 

The next day, I paid the Fur Place a visit.

What I discovered was a happy ending of a long career of a fourth generation fur traders and crafters. Since early 19th century this family have been working with growers, hunters and trappers, they sourced fur and produced high end clothing, and now, decided to retire. For me, what they had in store, was lambskin in three lovely colours! None of my usual suppliers carried lambskin, so this was a great opportunity for me to try working with something different, and rescued! (of course, needless to say, I loved their huge work-space and tall cutting tables, mannequins, sergers, machines - I wanted to get my hands on everything!)

I immediately loved working with lambskin. Not only is it soft, and perfectly pliable, but also, very resilient, which is extraordinary for a 1.8 oz weight. I first dug into the small pre-cut pieces, to try and build a new, evening bag design with pleated detail, I had sketched a few weeks prior.

Tasmain prototype, still with rivets...

Tasmain – a compact and elegant shoulder bag, with pleated front pockets was designed for lightweight leather, such as Lambskin. It proved to be the perfect experiment and a challenge. I re-inforced the body, pocket bases, connectors and the straps with stabilizer, I picked up at the same place. Then spent the evening pleating the pockets with glue, folding them in narrow strips and attaching them to the base for a structured finish. 
Tasmain was my first Western Rounded Sack design, to have the strap base connectors sewn onto the shell, as opposed to riveted, which I used to do in the past (for Kerry or Sarah bags).  I cut down on using metal even further, replacing  hardware, that attached my straps to their bases before, with re-inforced leather ties. Tasmain has made me more confident about my sewing skills....

Tasmain, Pistachio  - showing off my strap ties!

The final result was a sculpted evening bag; a design that plays up the elegance of Lambskin, it’s pliability and natural beauty. It holds it’s shape naturally without being a hard-shell purse. Darted bottom, just like the Sarah bag, closes with a non-flashy zipper and has two pleated front pockets. Strap can be adjusted by changing the length of base ties.

Tasmain bag comes in Black, Cocoa and Pistachio.

Fall/ Winter 2011 Cebrellex collection.
Posted by Jolanta

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Update on Cigar...

When designing a new item, I really do not know, how it will be met by my shoppers. Same goes for leather I source, there is always some faith - or crap-shoot - involved. I have been mostly right with some intuitive purchases of materials, but I also have had several surprises - good and bad.

During one of my most successful leather hunts, I have brought back about eight amazing hides I had rescued. One of them, was a deep brown, waxy finished 3 oz'er, called Echo Cigar...

Here it is, at my studio, third from left. When I sourced it, my current Collection was not even really in the works. I was suffering a burn-out from a busy Holiday season of the previous year, combined with full time day-job and the unrewarding situation that was part of it. I just knew, I loved what I found, and hoped I can come up with a design, suitable for this leather, later on.

And, it appears, that I did. Echo Cigar, a.k.a. Cigar became the opening colour of the Khela bag.

Since the time, the prototype was made, nearly all 64 beautiful square feet of this amazing leather has been used - and sold as my new, labour intense and graceful country tote. I was able to build five out of six intended Khela bags in Cigar. Four of those have fled the nest already - and I only have enough leather for one final Khela....

So, I would be thrilled that my final, sixth Khela in Cigar went to someone, who would really appreciate it. Simply, because to find another Orphaned hide as beautiful, as that one was, would be far too unlikely.

Khela Cigar No 6 will appear at the Webshop shortly.

Posted by Jolanta