bio: Through bookbinding, costume and puppet making, and more recently, bag and accessory making, I have grown a strong attachment to leather. I love working with leather. It is completely unlike any other material, with its natural variations in texture, thickness, and absorptions of dyes. Each piece, whether it be a full hide or a scrap bin treasure, carries its own personality.
These characteristics, combined with my detailed, sometimes whimsical designs, form the basis for Twilight and Filigree ~ beautiful, functional and unique pieces for people like you to enjoy.
Who says that the bag that carries and protects your laptop must be boring? Rumah Kampung has the right idea.
US politician Gaylord Nelson, who is said to be the father of the modern environmental movement, organized the very first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Conceived to make Earth’s human inhabitants more aware of how they treat their global home, Nelson’s vision has grown into a yearly grassroots ritual for millions of people around the globe. Every April, on the spring equinox, we come together to plant trees, pitch-in to clean up rivers and streams, and gather at awareness-raising events.
While it’s true that the eco-health of our world is still very much in peril and climate change is an issue that is on everybody’s minds, I, ever the optimist, like to think that in the 4 decades of observing Earth Day we have gotten a little better in our roles as the caretakers of this planet. Sure, we have a long way to go, but in honour of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day I would like to celebrate the small strides that we have made in the time since its inception.
Going Green starts at home and it seems that we are rising to the challenge by lowering our energy consumption. According to government studies in Canada, residential energy consumption has actually dropped since 2004. From better insulation and windows, to more-efficient appliances, there are literally dozens of ways that you can cut your energy usage around the house. The easiest, though, is as simple as flicking a switch and turning off the lights when you leave a room. To make switching-off more fun, swap-out your boring light switch plates with something a little more exciting; like this one (above) by the sassy Miss Andee. Visit the Dandee shop for a dizzying number of designs, or to order your custom plate.
You don’t have to go any further than the supermarket checkout to see the impact that the green movement has had. In an effort to cut down on excessive plastic-bag usage, many retailers have begun to charge for plastic bags; while some have stopped offering them entirely. Consumers, it seems, have risen to the challenge. In a recent online survey by furniture giant IKEA, 96% of respondents claim to own at least one reusable bag. (Hey, remaining 4% – get with the program!) Of course, as you and I both know, one can never have too many reusable shopping bags. Add to your collection with a beautiful bag like these; made from unbleached organic cotton and printed with eco-friendly inks (above) by Earth to Gert. Using it (or others like it) will help cut down on the estimated 5 billion plastic bags that will be discarded by next year’s Earth Day.
In 1997, an international treaty calling for the significant reduction of the release of ozone-depleting chemicals into the atmosphere was signed. Ratified by 194 countries, the Montreal Protocol is thought of as one of the most successful environmental agreements to date. In 2007, twenty years after the signing of the treaty, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environment Canada both noted some early indications that the ozone layer was beginning to recover. And, there’s even more good news; according to the experts, clear signs of recovery should be expected in the next 7 – 10 years. The lovely “Ozone” earrings, pictured above, are available in the Lolley’s shop. They are Leslie’s tribute to the atmosphere and a fitting one at that, with copper-coloured Swarovski “O”s hanging from hand-hammered, oxidized silver ear-wires.
So, whether you’ll be taking part in the community clean-up in Norway House, Manitoba, or creating driftwood sculptures on California’s Stinson Beach, I hope that you have a fun and fulfilling Earth Day. I hope, too, that you will take a moment to re-commit yourself to doing your part for the planet. We have a long way to go, but look how far we’ve already come! If the task seems too daunting, just remember –
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
– Gerhard Zeiler
To find an Earth Day event in your neighbourhood, visit earthday.org (USA) or earthday.ca (Canada). Or, if you know of any great local events, we would love to hear them, too! Please leave a comment and fill us in on all of the details.
RARAMODO bags is a little studio designing bags for women valuing the originality and wanting to express it through the style of clothes. For women who are avoiding mass-produced objects.
All bags were created according to the original RARAMODO project. Every bag is being sewn here, in the RARAMODO studio, with special attention to the high quality of the workmanship and the detail.
You will find here the unique style and design. Bags are being sewn in limited series, designed in order to combine the attractive appearance and the functionality.
Tell me about your shop.
I make one of a kind purses, wallets, and other bag type stuff from suiting fabrics and cotton prints. My goal is to create timeless designs that will never go out of style.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I have been sewing for most of my life, but had never considered that it could be profitable until after Katrina, when I moved to Los Angeles and discovered the Fabric district. There were so many fabric stores and the prices were crazy low.
I spent the next two years selling handmade lingerie in the dressing rooms of strip clubs and honing my sewing skills. When I moved back to New Orleans, a nurse friend of mine asked me to make her some scrubs. I had some fabric left over, so I made myself a shopping bag. it was the first bag I’d ever made, and I was so happy with it, that I completely changed my focus. I’ve been making bags ever since.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
Well, the name of my shop is the first and middle name that my parents gave me. My dad’s reason for naming me Christian is that he thought I would get more respect in the business world if I had a masculine name. Of course, he didn’t know then that I would be going into business making things for women.
I added my middle name to title to clear up any misconceptions about my gender and to make sure that people didn’t think I was selling purses that believe in Jesus. Also, I think it has a nice ring to it.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I am a one woman operation for sure. I shop, cut, sew, photograph, package, and ship. I print business cards, design ads and shop graphics, and make sew in labels. I even built my own website.
I have a background in special effects makeup, where I learned to make molds for props, and I’m working on sculpting and casting my own plastic purse handles.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
My shop is here, http://christianmarie.etsy.com, at Etsy. I love Etsy, but I can’t promise that I will be there forever. I link to them through my own domain, http://christianmarie.com, so that people will always be able to find me even if I switch venues.
I definitely prefer selling in person. It’s difficult to accurately convey things like size, color and texture with photographs and text.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
Here’s some super talented New Orleans folks:
Byapryl makes gorgeous gemstone and metal tree sculptures.
Hurricane Pottery has some very cool and unusual pieces.
Bobsandbits makes the cutest little furniture for kids.
What inspires and motivates you?
I wouldn’t say that I’m motivated and inspired so much as I’m obsessive and compulsive. :) I have dreams about sewing. My friends have to repeat themselves because I’m always thinking about how to improve some design. I sew because I have to.
What do you wish I had asked you?
“What do you love most about your craft?”
Making patterns is, by far, my favorite part of the process. It’s like doing a three dimensional puzzle. I see the finished bag in my mind, and then I have to break it into pieces and figure out how, and in what order, the pieces go back together. I have a very analytical mind, so it suits me perfectly. There is no better feeling than having a pattern come out perfect on the first try.
Thanks Christian! And if you would like to be interviewed next, just head over to DIY Interview.