Meet the Maker - byAliceWood

Monday, November 19, 2018
Today's Meet the Maker interview is with byAliceWood, whose artisanal leatherwares are made mainly from chrome-tanned leather. The design principle behind byAliceWood is that form follows function, and there is beauty in simplicity; natural organic shapes lend themselves to the soft tactility of the leather.
We recently caught up with Alice to find out more about her practice. Find out more below...

A tiny pouch keyring byAliceWood
Firstly, please introduce yourself....
I'm Alice, I live in Plymouth having recently moved there from Totnes, and I make simply designed leather bags and accessories using beautiful thick leather.

The mini Alice bag byAliceWood
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline?
I love the versatility, and the ability to make something beautiful that is also at heart, a functional product.

Six-card wallet byAliceWood

What is currently your most popular piece?
Both the Alice Bag and the Stud Purses are constantly popular.

Tiny pouch keyrings byAliceWood

What are some of your biggest creative influences or inspirations?
I'm very much inspired by utilitarian vintage bags, army bags, industrial bags... etc. I firmly believe in the saying that form follows function, and love simple lines and beautiful colours.

Small handmade pocket stud purse byAliceWood

Describe your studio or workspace?
A large cutting table where I start the processes of making, from design to hand cutting... and then regularly finishing them there too. There are two sewing machines, and various other machinery. A beautiful selection of leathers are rolled up on a large high shelf, and I'm constantly rediscovering leathers up there!

The Alice bag byAliceWood
How do you go about designing a new piece?
Inspiration usually comes from discovering something I need, and I design from there, experimenting with how to create something to fulfil that need. For example, I recently redesigned a purse to be able to hold the new £10 note flat as it's such a nightmare to fold! I'm constantly inspired by the leather itself, colour, texture etc. and this can sometimes lead to the feeling I have to make a particular thing from it.

Small handmade pocket stud purse byAliceWood

What are some of the biggest challenges in your work?
Sticking with making one thing at a time, especially when I've just bought some new leather, as I just want to use it all at once right away!

Leather Shopper byAliceWood

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
It was a necklace made by my mother which is now unfortunately lost, so to choose something in my current possession I would say my beautiful vase/carafe made by Sue Pryke, I admire her simplicity in design and the colours she uses are just spot on.

Handmade leather purses byAliceWood

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut?
I visit junk shops and army surplus stores to look at old bags!

Handmade leather make up bag By Alice Woods

Where would you like to be in ten years?
I would love to be making my own bag frames and hardware, inspired by my love of vintage military bags.

Alice's making process

Thank you Alice - we will see you on the 24 & 25 November for our first Made in Bristol Gift Fair weekender at Colston Hall.

Photos courtesy Alice Wood.

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