I feel so cheesy when I use the word “synergy”, but that is what comes to mind when I think about this collaboration. Rachael‘s handbags are beautifully crafted, with great attention and care to every detail. Her authenticity comes from the core of her being; she’s one of those girls who just instantly lights up the mood of any room. I’m absolutely humbled by her willingness to share a byline with me, especially when it comes to something as close to her heart as her bags. Together, we present to you a collection of canvas bags that are simple and modern, with a touch of whimsy. We’ve chosen Crafted Westside‘s holiday pop-up shop – and the internet – as the venue for the premiere of this line. Bag shapes include the tote (pictured here), the clutch, and the dopp kit. Our color palette is grounded in earth tones with flourishes of gold, and the designs are meant to be as functional as they are fun. We hope you’ll be as excited as we are! If you don’t live in Atlanta or would like to have a custom hand-painted bag for yourself, get in touch with us and email me at email@example.com. We’re crossing our fingers that this will be a partnership to last – evolving alongside our own individual craft practices. More product pictures to come very soon…
In case you haven’t read between the lines, I’ve been working on a seriously exciting collaboration with my lovely and inspiring friend, Rachael of Neva Opet! Her bags are some of the best in town and it’s no secret that I’ve been a big admirer of hers for a while now. She was one of the first artisans I interviewed for this blog and her positive outlook and support has made a wonderful impact in my life’s work. It felt super natural for us to fuse our crafts; our mutual respect and adoration for each other’s sense of design made this a no-brainer. What is this going to look like, you ask? Well, here’s a sneak peek from my instagram…
I’ve never done product design like this before and it was definitely a good challenge. With the amount of bags I had to do and the lack of free time I had, it forced me to create more efficiently. This mostly meant leaving things be and accepting the beauty of simplicity. I have the tendency to over-create because I always want to add more and more subtle layers. But for this project, it was important to step back and force myself to provide breathing room. I had to remind myself that they were all going to be transforming into something else, something useful, and that a simple statement is much more impactful than a busy chaotic mess.
I have no idea what the end product is going to look like! I just passed off all the materials to Rachael for her to do her magic and by this time next week, we will finally have a finished line.
What I do know is that there will be a variety of colors, patterns, and bag shapes for you to choose from and it’s just in time for the holiday season! Some of these will be living in Crafted Westside‘s Holiday Pop-Up Shop and others will be available for custom order. We’ll be premiering our products in the next two weeks with more information to come. Hope you’re half as excited as we are!!
Do you ever see or meet women who make you think to yourself “man, she is so cool; I want to be her when I grow up.” Well, today I aspire to be one of those women, to serve as my own inspiration.
Yesterday I added this jacket to my wardrobe and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I see women pull off these moto-slash-army (aka anorak) jackets all the time and I’ve never been able to envision myself being able to, until now. It’s fitted yet casual, classic yet edgy and it will be the perfect layering bridge moving into the fall.
Instead of living in comparison to others, I’ve decided that my future self is the person I’m trying to live up to.
I’ll admit it.. I’m a little bit obsessed with flared jeans. I wish they were more popular than the contemporary skinny standard, but every now and then I just don’t even care. I love them! My favorite pair is surprisingly from Target. Yeah, I said Target. They have the perfect amount of stretch and don’t look too retro. They go great with anything and today I pair them with one of my new favorite tops from Anthro. Flared top with flared jeans? I say yes.
The weather can’t seem to make up its mind (at least in Atlanta). One day is the beginning of fall, the next feels like the middle of harsh winter. While it can feel schizophrenic and difficult to dress for, I am trying to treat all those almost-warm days like the little precious jewels they are. Pretty soon, I’ll be so cold that I won’t want to wear anything but a parka! Til then, I’ve got some new basic obsessions in my wardrobe. See below!
I began my Creative Masters interview series in order to feature creative entrepreneurs who are a shining example of manifesting your goals and dreams. However, I quickly realized that there is just as much inspiration to be found in a newcomer – particularly because their decision to pursue passion over practicality is recent and fresh in their minds and hearts. I now present to you a “sister” series that I will call Creative Makers: a showcase of artisans, performers, and business owners who are new to the game and ready to give it their all.
Within five minutes of meeting Rachael at Thread Count, I knew we would become fast friends. Her infectious laughter and evident love for all things well-made really made me feel like she was a kindred spirit from a previous lifetime. After only meeting me once, she so graciously opened up her home and studio to show me where the leather magic happens. That’s right people – leather. magic! Rachael Riedinger is the creator of Neva Opet, a line of hand-crafted purses and accessories that exemplify a modern take on the marriage between functionality and form. Her gorgeous array of leather and canvas bags were enough to make me swoon, but after getting to know her over iced lattes (made by Rachael herself) and scrumptious pastries, I knew I wouldn’t go home without one of her beautiful creations. Her work is dripping with passion and can be found via Neva Opet’s website, Etsy, and Facebook. Be sure to keep tabs on this one, ladies. I’m sure in a few years you will have wish you had bought one of her bags today!
First things first. Describe the personality or type of woman you make your bags for.
I make my bags for myself and for women like me. I like minimal things done in great materials that will last a lifetime. A woman like me is someone who appreciates art, design, and minimalism – likes things a bit more understated. I think shopping habits have taken a change and people want to purchase things that they will keep forever. I’m hoping people won’t treat my bags preciously or baby them because they are meant to live and mature with their owners. The materials I use only get more awesome with age.
That’s a cool way to look at an accessory – like a lifetime companion. So how did you learn to make what you make? Where did the impulse come from?
Well I started sewing when I was 14 years old. My mom gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and I started sewing all the vintage silhouettes and patterns I couldn’t find in stores at the time – like peg leg pants (skinny jeans) or just band patches onto my jackets. It just snowballed from there so I’ve been sewing for 11 years now. I just really enjoy making things and after one really awful job, I decided that I wanted to do something that I love. Even if it pays half as much, I’m still so much happier. In regards to the leather work specifically, I’m entirely self-taught. It took a long time to figure out the ins and outs of leather and I still learn something new every time I work. But because of that, each bag I make is better than the one before it.
Which part of the crafting process do you enjoy most?
Hmm. That’s tough. On one hand, I really love the transformation of materials – seeing the fabric or leather become a finished product. But I also really love it when I see that someone else enjoys the bag as much as I enjoyed making it. It’s just such a gratifying thing to see a stranger say “I love this,” and it makes me want to design more. Otherwise, I’d probably just end up with a bunch of bags in a room.
There are way too many effin cute neighborhoods in Atlanta. It’s wonderfully overwhelming and keeps me feeling alive to discover all the little gems scattered inside the perimeter. A recent Saturday took me to East Lake in search of Thread Count, a unique vendor’s market focused on raising awareness for local craftsmanship, sustainability, and design. In other words, it pretty much had my name written all over it plus there was no cover charge at all. I expected the typical Atlanta craft market experience where you come, covet, eat, and leave. Little did I know that East Lake’s neighborhood would charm the pants off of me. Why?… Just look.
On the way to Thread Count, Ben and I stumbled upon the East Lake Urban Farm. Due to our impending move to a duplex unit with a backyard begging for a garden, I’ve recently become obsessed with nurseries, farms, and vegetable gardens. Perhaps it’s the farm to table trend seeping into my blood. Perhaps it’s my desire to save money. Either way – it’s a healthy new interest and I’m looking forward to what I might be able to pull up from the earth with my own two hands. In the meantime, I’ll just keep ogling cute places like this.
The event was held in the East Lake Community Garden which is filled rows of blooming vegetables and a den of weed-eating goats (even little ones). Though there weren’t many vendors in total, each one was dripping with a genuine desire to share the love of their craft. Not to mention there was also free beer from New Belgium. Did I mention that I like stuff that’s free?
I met a number of darling artisans who were just beginning their creative journey. Like KJo – audiologist by day and jewelry maker by night! She scavenges for vintage items and reclaims them into sweet little pieces to wear. Her display felt like the awesome attic of an eccentric aunt who has a taste for the feminine along with the slightly strange.
And Rachael of Neva Opet, who hand-crafts elegant leather accessories. She’s an absolute doll and more on her later!
Do you need any more convincing to go see East Lake for yourself? Just a little drive around the neighborhood will do you a world of good, but a visit to the garden and farm will be enough to make you want to plant your own roots here.