One day many years ago, I was in Santa Fe New Mexico mixing with the locals at the Plaza Art Festival and admiring the wares of the native artists. I always enjoy looking at the people more than the crafts and will often strike up simple conversations while pretending to examine the pieces of art presented on blankets in front of each maker.
(My interests have always been toward the “elders” who would have very few pieces of craft on their blankets and seemed to be in the square more as “representatives” than to sell their artwork.)
I approached one elderly woman sitting in her beach chair with her beautiful blanket draped haphazardly around her shoulders. A plain bed sheet on the ground in front of
her with 10 or 12 pieces of beaded items displayed.
As was my custom I asked politely “may I touch?” … “yes,” she replied casually looking toward her neighbor sitting next to her as if to say “watch this”.
I picked up a beaded hat band and started to run my fingers along the straight rows of brightly colored beads. Allowing for just the right amount of time.. the old woman suddenly announced (as if to teach the others, or startle me – I still don’t know)
“You will not find perfection in my work. I purposefully put mistakes in my beading so you know a human being made it and not a machine”.
The old woman continued with pride in her voice… “the best way to
know if anything here is authentic Indian work, you look for the mistake.”
Without hesitation or question as to the price, I bought the hatband.
I bought it to remember what that Grand-Mother said to me on that day and I bought it because it was beautiful in every way… it had her strong energy all over it.
I love to work with leather. We have had a long and passionate relationship… I have said more than once, “working with leather is truly unforgiving. If you make a mistake, you either start all over or leave it there depending on your mood.”
Any hand made piece of art (if done correctly) will put the artist thru hell – it’s never the medium that does the torturing… it is the maker. That’s why artists have such a difficult time selling their art.
Art is an exposing full-monty kind of thing.
Art is always expressing something.
It is also absolutely FILLED with the energy of it’s maker. It is a true projection of the artists nature and is usually purchased by someone who “feels” something about it.
Whatever that something is… is instantly translated when the piece meets it’s new owner.
All of my leather work will have flaws. Look for them.. a machine did not make it!
Sometimes the “character” is due to the nature of the leather itself… after all it use to be a LIVING BEING.
Occasionally, I will (purposefully) choose a part of the hide with a scar or blemish in it to honor it’s NEW form while remembering that it gave its life up in a violent way – without honor.
Each piece has energy in it. That’s why it is so hard to sell these projects without a brick and mortar store… because you can’t touch them.
So if you feel anything from the photos… that is a strong “indicator” and you might want to contact me for more information about that feeling before you purchase the item.
The name “Needful Things” was a gift from a friend who use to talk about items you can’t find in a local store but are useful, handy, and purposeful.
I like to think everything I make has a purpose, like a tool. Even the leather feathers can be used for steadying a chair or a table!
Leather is the skin of a living being, and I treat it with great respect. It has scars and blemishes that enhance it’s unique color and texture, and I will always use the piece no one else will. I also try to have as little waste as possible. Everything is used for something else, or will be at some point.
My space is small and cozy. It is not a space for major projects, so your piece will reflect the peace I feel when I am working on it.
As with any hand made item, it is imperfect.
Just like us.