Hoi Bo is not just a bag, a piece of clothing or an object, it is a perspective on living. We are the journey from design to execution to utility in your life. As I stand at the edge of a new year I want to realign myself with the intentions of my work; of why I started and where I want to go. Hoi Bo has always been about sustainability from a personal, environmental and community perspective.
When I am asked if I have scraps of leather that I want to get rid of or I’m offered scraps from other leather makers, my reaction is 'no and no'.
Leather is an amazing material – it’s a visceral experience for me. It’s a material that demands respect and careful consideration in the approach that you take in working with it. It’s easy to look at a finished product and forgo consideration for what was left behind. About 40% of a hide of leather is considered to be waste.
I think that designers greatly benefit from being makers. For several reasons, but this being one of the most important reasons - you are confronted with the reality of your own making. When you send your designs off to be manufactured by other people, local or from far away lands, you separate yourself from the failures of your own design. It’s not enough that you’ve made something beautiful. Beauty for the sake of beauty is not enough. You don’t see all the off-cuts that are bagged up and thrown into our landfills because it’s cheaper to throw it out than it is to deal with it.
Good design is disciplined, thoughtful and considerate.
The summer of 2017 will mark our 10th year in business. That’s 10 years worth of good and bad decisions. We spent some time last year in the studio sorting our leather off-cuts into differents sizes and thicknesses. This year, I’m challenging myself to investigate my off-cuts and create work that’s relevant, sustainable and beautiful with them.
I decided to start this journey with four bags of 1/4” leather strips that I have been collecting over the last two years, never being able to find the right intention for the material. Leather is a very strong material but can be made weak when perforated with excessive stitches. Working with the 1/4” limitation of the material has pushed me to consider alternative ways to approach the construction method. Now, these 1/4” strips of leather have become the handles on my new Washable Paper Collection!