awl

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

We were planning a trip to New York a few years ago and I went on a month long, obsessive hunt for a weekender. I needed one that could carry all my goods and still leave room for any potential treasures I might discover along the way. Too bad I didn’t find Erin McRoberts back then, because I am totally smitten with her leather work and especially this HotShot Weekender/Backpack hybrid of hers, showcased in her Awl Snap shop. Leather and waxed canvas together? Love it!

Erin’s shop is fantastic and she recently took the leap into the world of full-time making. Ya’ll know I’m all about supporting makers with that big leap, so how could I resist featuring her as a part of my Handmade Profiles series? Besides, her logo is my new favorite. It’s brilliant and needs to be on a t-shirt. I’d wear it. *hint-hint*

Enjoy the interview and then click on any of the images to explore Erin’s entire collection. Free free to leave a comment below with some words of support for Erin and her brave jump.

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap
1. What inspired you to began your collection?
Well if I take it way back to 1987 when I was five, I could say that “playing office” was my inspiration. I made myself a briefcase out of white poster board and Velco. It’s hard to imagine I’m sure- I wish I had a picture of it somewhere! Jump forward about 20 years, and again I found myself constantly searching for a modern, practical leather bag that wasn’t astronomically priced. Being the crafter that I am, I decided to make my collection, and from there I started to receive a lot of great feedback and custom requests. Then the ball started rolling…

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap
2. Can you name a favorite source of inspiration?
I try not to look at too many other designers for inspiration, solely because I want to make sure I stay true to myself and my design style, and I can easily get overwhelmed by trends. I would have to say my favorite source of inspiration would be my customers. I’m very open with talking to clients, and I love to listen to what they want in their ideal design, and from there, craft some ideas and make them come to life. Oh and TED talks on creativity- those always get me excited.

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

3. What materials do you love to use?
Deliciously smooth leathers, of course! Every single leather hide is different. Each has unique markings, size, color, texture, smell… I love when I get a new shipment in the mail and roll that bad boy out and take a sniff…..

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

Domo Leather Envelope Clutch

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

4. Do you have a dream collaborator?
I have a background in painting, and I love the idea of mixing utilitarian craftsmanship and fine art. Luckily I have a few close friends who are very talented fine artists and I would love to collaborate with them some day soon. We’ve been talking about this for a little while now, so some ideas are definitely flowing.

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

Tom Tom Leather Tote

5. When you need a musical muse, who do you turn the volume up for?
Well, I’m still obsessed with Lord Huron’s Lonesome Dreams which came out last year. Also Beck, M83, and Desmond Dekker have been making me happy while I work in my studio here lately. Random, I know.

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

Suede Travel Wallet in Dusty Blue

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

Suede Travel Wallet in Rust

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

6. How do you use social media/blogging to promote your work?
I’ll admit, I’ve been lame in this department lately, and this is a big goal of mine for 2014. Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for me- I’m a visual person. I’m just now getting used to Twitter ( I swear, I’m not 65. ) Another goal this year is to start blogging regularly. I consider myself a wide open book, and I have a lot of stories to share. Plus, running your own business alone is tough, and I like the community that blogging builds. Any chance I can get to help other artists/makers who are in similar boats, I will.

handmade leather bags etsy iamthelab.com awl snap

7. Where do you see your shop/project going?
My dream is to have a small storefront where I could sell my goods, as well have have my sewing machine in the shop and be working on leather projects in front of customers while they meander around. I think it’s important for people to see exactly how things are made, and I love inquisitive people. I probably wouldn’t get much sewing done though because I could easily talk all day.

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