Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Moxie & Oliver Creation Process

It all began with a search for the perfect leather belt. When artist Caitlin McNamara couldn’t find just that, the creating began. Moxie & Oliver has since expanded from a few belts to a plethora of handmade leather goods. Every piece is made completely from scratch, from beginning to end, in Caitlin’s Seattle studio.

All Moxie & Oliver pieces are made with full-grain tooling leather, which is the strongest type available, so that each item holds up for years of wear and tear. Caitlin’s signature process combines traditional leatherworking materials and modern techniques for a unique handmade experience. Every piece starts as a hyde of vegetable tan leather in a light flesh color. Vegetable tan leather uses tree bark and organic materials in the tanning process rather than chemicals. This means that it stays closer to its natural state, which allows it to retain colors and patterns in a way that chemically tanned leather doesn’t.  The vegetable tan leather used for Moxie & Oliver products comes untreated—all patterns, colors and dyes are added in the studio.

The hyde is then transformed cut into a shape using handmade patterns that are imprinted on it. Some patterns are branded onto the hyde and some are carved in. All stitching holes are hand punched then sewn together. The leather is painted and dyed in the studio, then stitched or riveted together by hand. All pieces include a protective topcoat so that the colors are permanent.

Since Moxie & Oliver began in 2004, Caitlin has been coming up with new patterns, items, and ways to explore the many uses of leather. The innovative line includes pretty much everything that can be made out of the material, including items that often come in only black, brown, or tan leather. Each piece gets softer and better with age, so you’re guaranteed to have a quality product that lasts!

Check out a video of the Moxie & Oliver process here.

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