WHAT’S THE MEANING OF “TUNING”? Tuning is a way of being in the world. We strive to be in tune with ourselves, with others, with nature. Sometimes we fall out of tune and that’s okay. The process of TUNING is a process of ongoing learning and care.

WHAT MAKES THESE BAGS SPECIAL? Design, Saddle Stitching, The Leather, and Small Batch Production.

DESIGN. The design of the shoulder bag emerged as a response to 2 problems I was observing: 1. Some women carry large leather totes that look stylish but are unreasonably heavy and uncomfortable and 2. Other women carry canvas shopping bags which are more comfortable than large leather totes but look unpolished. The TUNING shoulder bag was designed to have the easiness of a canvas bag with the polish of a well crafted leather bag.

SADDLE STITCHING. Saddle stitching is a two needle, hand sewing technique using waxed linen thread. The result is a stitch that is not only strong but beautiful in how it reveals the hands that stitched it. Bag connoisseurs look for and value the slight imperfection that a saddle stitch brings. Saddle stitching is a slow process. What takes 30 seconds on a machine can take an hour to saddle stitch by hand. So why do I do it? I enjoy it. Plus, I’m a sucker for techniques that combine quality and beauty.

THE LEATHER. I use two types of leather: one is an earthy, oiled-tanned leather made in Maine, and the other is a more refined, embossed leather called Saffiano, from Italy. I love working with each of them for different reasons. With the oiled-tanned hide, I enjoy seeing the natural beauty of the leather–it helps me appreciate where it comes from. With the Saffiano, I enjoy particularly what the cross-hatched embossing does to the material. Saffiano is thin, yet durable. Both of these types of leather come from sources with fair environmental standards and labor practices, which means they cost a little more than the leathers you find on mainstream products, but I believe they’re worth it.

SMALL BATCH PRODUCTION. TUNING bags are like limited edition art prints. When you get a TUNING bag, you are probably one of four to ten people in the world who have one made from that batch of leather. I think of bags from the same batch as sisters. I don’t number the bags as a printmaker numbers prints, but they are shipped with a signed and dated card.

MY STORY. I’ve lived in New York all of my life and love it here. I was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, educated in Upstate New York–first in classical music, then in industrial design. After school I spent 10 years teaching innovation and sustainability to teens and adults.

I’ve had my share of challenges: I lost my mother to cancer when she was in her late 40s. And I myself battled cancer in my early thirties. These challenges were hard but gave me a healthy perspective on life–its short & happiness is important.

After ten years of teaching I was feeling the need for a change and decided to challenge my creative side. I found an art studio and started working with leather. Why leather? To be honest, I just love the material. It’s soft and flexible yet durable and strong. It bends but it doesn’t break. Be like leather!