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We would like to introduce you to Clare of C. Leather Goods. We had the honor of meeting with her during our trip to Italy earlier this year. She has such a warm and kind soul and we are so excited to introduce her as a new stockist to Individual Medley. Meet Clare!
What about leatherwork peeked your interest and kept you working with it today?
CH: I had seen these amazing workshops while studying abroad in Italy that were making the most beautiful leather shoes. I’ve always admired Italy’s long history of excellent craftsmanship and was interested in putting my creative skills to use by learning a traditional craft. So, after college I decided to move to Italy and started apprenticing with shoemakers making leather sandals and shoes. From there I kept collaborating with shoemakers and experimenting on the side with my own projects making bags and small leather goods. I've grown to love vegetable tanned leather as a material because it is both structural and soft, beautiful and at the same time really tough. It’s durability allows it to age and change and become more interesting with time.
Has Italy shaped your process since you've moved? In what ways?
CH: For sure. I think the things that I really love about living in Italy have seeped into how I think and defined most of my work & design process. Living in Bologna has definitely shaped my aesthetic taste because it has exposed me to, and made me appreciate the beauty of subtlety and grace. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by all these beautiful buildings and artworks that are still as incredible today as they were hundreds of years ago. It makes me want to create work with the same values of time, craftsmanship, and materials. I am also grateful for the time I’ve spent working with and learning from Italian shoemakers who have had an enormous influence on me. Other than teaching me the technical skills of working with leather, they taught me how to be productive in a more human way and create a healthier work-life balance. I feel really lucky to live in a place that teaches and inspires me so much, which is part of why I decided to name all of my products after Italian cities.
Where do you go to recharge your spirit?
CH: When I need to recharge I like to go on long walks around the city center to get some fresh air and space out while looking at all the pretty colors and buildings. I find the colors of Bologna really comforting. There are lots of deep reds, terra cotta oranges, and peachy pinks that just make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I continue to be amazed at, and in love with, the endless amounts of thoughtful details there are on the streets of Bologna. From the marbled sidewalks to the fancy doorways and the frescoed ceilings, you can find the most amazing decorations in completely unexpected places!
What book(s) have you read that changed your life?
CH: The Interaction of Color by Josef Albers & Six Memos for the next Millennium (Lezioni Americane) by Italo Calvino.
What artistic endeavour have you always thought about dabbling in but haven’t yet?
CH: There are so many! I would love to try everything from working with textiles, to iron welding, glass blowing, and photography.
What future project excites you?
CH: I have a lot of new ideas for bags bopping around my head that I am looking forward to testing out. It’s really fun to see different shapes or colors or details around the city that spark an idea and then be able to try that idea out on the sewing machine with leather. I just finished working on a new bag called the “Reggio” that I’m pretty excited about unveiling on my website soon!
If you could create and deliver one leather good for someone, who would it be?
What do you miss most about the States?
CH: Mostly my friends and family... I can’t complain too much, because Italian food is real good, but I often miss and crave certain types of food that are hard to find here like Mexican food, cheddar cheese, Pad Thai, bagels, hot wings, and bacon.
Thank you Clare! Thank you Francesca Bellino, who shot all these wonderful photos! Check out more of her work at: www.francescabellino.com
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