Foldable Leather & Tulle Bags.
Foldable bags are extremely useful for travelling and storage in wardrobes. However, there are not many on the market and the ones available are not particularly functional or attractive. The challenge is to create truly foldable bags that mix form with function.
The team will produce a collection of high-end bags made of leather and tulle. The size and shape of the bags can be adapted to suit the occasion. The harder leather parts will provide structure while the lighter tulle sections provide flexibility. In every aspect, the bags will be eco-friendly, using sustainable yarn (recycled nylon from old fishing nets or biodegradable yarn), developing creative and highly resistant tulle, combined with upcycled leather.
The very first idea of making foldable bags made out of tulle and leather came in October 2018 when I was preparing the exhibition “ETÉREA´ for the Mad is Mad art gallery in Madrid. I was preparing at that time a textile installation with different colours of nylon tulle that was symbolising the air, the ethereal, the lightness.
At the same time I was preparing leathergoods collections in Ubrique.
I was so imbued with the tulle material that I started to experiment with it in the leather goods ateliers, and mix it with leather. By preparing tulle and leather stripes I realised how these materials behave together and how well they could articulate and fold when translated to the proper pattern.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
And the project evolved. I was satisfied with the mechanism of the foldable bags, but I still thought I could perform the materials, and specially the nylon tulle used as the base for the bags. I imagined a tulle much more creative, made out of natural fibers, and creating different pattern and mixing different colours for it.
I had met Bistra Pisancheva one year earlier within the WPP. I was amazed with her work. So different from the traditional lace work. Her technique was really strong, and at the same time she was really an artist, and expressed herself freely with the tulle technique, experimenting with materials and shapes not from the lace world.
I realised Bistra was the perfect partner for experimenting this new material I needed.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
The creative process was really easy and flourished with Bistra, as both minds were really aligned. Bistra is super opened and is always willing to experiment anything new.
We started experimenting with the material, with the fibers. At first we experimented with technical fibers, such as special sort of nylons and polyesters. We wanted to have a sustainable focus and we tried with recycled polyesters and nylons. But we were not satisfied with the results and we were turning progressively to natural fibers, firstly linen, and then more raw fibers that look stronger such as raffia, hemp, and thick linen. We wanted to separate our product from the clothing lace and wanted to create a much thicker, consistent and raw tulle.
We have also been experimenting with patterns from the beginning, more organic versus more geometrical patterns. We loved them all! We decided each tulle for each bag would be different, creating thus unique products.
We have been also experimenting with colours, mainly since we completely engaged with the natural fibers, as we are dying the fibers ourselves with natural dyes such as curcuma, wine, strawberryes…
Just before Christmas 2020 we contacted a colleague from Bistra, Ana da Silva, a basketry maker based in Galicia, Spain, to join us. She has been replacing the leather parts by straw and pine needle, and she has also prepared some bases for the bags made out of leather straps.
The collaboration has been 100% beneficial for both. We learned a lot the one from the other, in the technical professional aspects, and also in the human aspects.
Lidia is in charge of the overall idea of the project, also of the logistics, and the initial art direction. However Bistra is in control of the creation of the tulle, experimenting with new patterns with her selection of fibers and colours.
We definetly want to continue with this project in the future. We have created a strong team: Lidia as the creative director and in charge of the logistics, communication and commercial aspects; Bistra as the lace-maker; the leathergoods atelier in Ubrique, Spain, to make the leather parts; Ana in charge of the parts made of straw, and the constructions as basketry.
It is a delight to feel you are connected to other people, with different skills, and you are aligned to make the best out of a common project! This sort of collaborations make you think it is not possible to make everything yourself, you cannot be specialised in everything. It is much more interesting and profitable to work with different people that believe in the same project and each one is specialised in a different field. The results would be just so much better. You would not have so much hassle of doing things you do not know how to do… and you would enjoy much more the work!
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Bistra is an expert in bobbin lace making and is passionate about this highly experimental technique. She works constantly with new yarns, knots, shapes, surfaces, scales, etc. She is also an anthropologist, interested in the diversity of lace
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