Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ophilya Illustrated.

My first obsession when entering into the world of crafting, was the simple graphite free-hand drawing. Starting as a kid, I doodled during classes that I deemed unbearable. I found an irresistible alluring adiction to  doodling. Everyday I drew, and everyday I looked forward to the several hours of torturous studies for this fact alone. I drew decorative lettering mostly but moved on to more realistic drawings, while it slowly began to transform to this creative realm of my developing imagination. These days I have began to gear all art the towards the brand. From here, I hope to slowly bring to life the inspired thought and admiration which goes into this rising brand, Ophilya.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Work Within the Studio

Welcome to the Brainstorming process…

Although I am horrified at my true self for this messy work station. This is how my brain tends to comprehend the creative process. So as I throw together an assortment of different materials, I begin the search for the perfect combination. 

Here, I am focusing on Jewelry. The jar carries within it, hand-turned wooden lathed pendents made from different species of exotic wood. Beside it, braided leather and yarn for the chain. I continually make these separate items to later evaluate what will be the suitable match. Although an intensely slow process, it has proven to have the best results.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting creative with color

Adding Color to Mix

 This is where vegetable tan leather comes into play. With its off white shade you may easily apply a desired leather dye or in this case an acrylic paint mixture which allowed for the vibrant blue and red. These products will be small leather hip pouches which will be attached to a leather belt. Sure you may call them glorified fanny packs, but they shall serve a higher purpose. 

Originally I began making this product for my sister and I so that during craft fairs we may at all time carry with us our cell phones for check out, business cards, pen/pencil, and our I.D's. So together we designed this small leather pouch. Four different colors, one for me, one for my sister, and two more for whom ever finds a charming appeal to these small hip pouches.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Warhouse stocked with Leather

Tandy Leather Warehouse in Elgin, IL

This is that one particular place where I fill with an array of awkward mixed emotions. I am both ecstatic of the endless possibilities, overwhelmed at the size, and saddened at the thought. But I get to work scanning isles to find those treasured materials for future projects.

Although the color screams out and catches the eye, I deviate towards natural tones and vegetable tan leather which carries a off white surface.

Veg. Tan leather -  is great for textural details such as painted surfaces, leather dying, and my most cherished favorite is when you soak the leather within water for a few seconds, it becomes limp to the touch. At this moment you may mold the leather around an selected object and when it drys it becomes a hardened shell. This technique is something which allows you to think outside the box.

Hours Later… Too much money spent… But amazing materials to work with… 

Back to the studio for deliberation. 
                          Onto the next project...


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Recycle and Reuse

For the Holidays we began to create a line of unique Whimsy stockings. After exploring possibilities of the stockings themselves, we began to create name tags hand cut from leather to hang from our sculptural hand sewn Christmas socks. 

As orders rolled in, and the name tags began to sell, all the letters which I had cut from the leather were tossed aside to be later evaluated for future recycled projects. Leather is a precious material that deserves much respect, so I save each letter to present this artistic challenge of brainstorming ways to reuse and recycle. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Classic Handmade Exotic Wooden Clasp Wallets

Hand-stitched leather wallets with exotic wood easy slip clasp. 

 This tool is a flat-head turned-up awl that allows me to create a hole which leaves a non exposed attachment for the hand-stitching. 

-A close up of the hand sanded, polished exotic wood clasp which is applied by hand stitching. 

This product in particular became the experiment of combining these two natural materials. For the future I plan on creating new possibilities of wooden clasps for bags, shoes, and small leather goods.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Handmade Rustic Leather Satchel

Mood Board.
The process of brainstorming… Here is were characteristics of future handbag designs are molded and conceived. By scanning thousands of on going images of leather goods, I selected from them, appropriate style lines,  particular shades of leather, textures and finishes, stitch detail, size and shape, and think to  myself does the design make sense? is it user friendly?

Leaning on vintage leather goods, I began to look for alternatives to these naturally aged leather bags, so I started searching for the designs which carried this idea of "natural beauty".  Natural Beauty is the simplified style lines which exposes the raw beauty of leather. I respect those who show admoration for this particular material. Leather is what I have difficulty chosen to craft with. But in the same regard I use every aspect, down to the smallest scrap. I put thought and love into each design, so I may present to you, bags which bring to life this beautiful art of leather crafting, and this wonderful, timeless material, that with age, exceeds it's charming looks and prospers in natural aging.

Handmade leather bag.
I have used found hardware with natural aging, magnetic closer, options in straps, and I also used two different shades of leather. The bag is a hazelnut oil tan cow hide. The strap of the bag is a heather gray cow hide and is double sided to provide strength and durability. 

Many have questioned on my handmade bags which purposefully have no lining material. I stick firm to taking pride when I can expose the inner part of the hide.  It is difficult to waste any aspect of the natural hide to todays synthetic materials.

Three rivets on either side of the gusset for more security and durability. 

This is just the beginning of Ophilya, handmade handbags! Stay Tune...


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentines Day Wooden Heart Bracelets

Here is the beginning stages of wood working. Cut delicately on a larger then necessary band saw, these wooden hearts came to life. From this stage of the process, we move to the belt sander to give these raw cut heart a smoother shape. 

Now it is up to the job of equipping ourselves with extreme patients. We sit and hand-sand for an hour or so, for each single heart, in order to reach this shinny smooth finish; and after a natural wax is applied, the grain is then brought to life!

The final stage was drilling a small hole into the sides of each heart. The gold plated 16g wire is then slipped through the side, and twisted on each end to leave an easy latched clasp at the back side of the bracelet.

These small exotic wooden bracelets are just the beginning of the journey to creating one of a kind, beautiful, hand-crafted accessories!


You may purchase these at 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Introduction


       Please call me Ophilya. I am a leather crafter, wood whittler, shoe making artist. Inspired by my surroundings I find pleasure in being the creator of new innovative design. I find myself drawing towards rustic material with a twist of color and life. I believe that the accessories which we adorn our bodies with should reflect the inner soul. How ever poetic that sounds, I believe this with all my heart. So as I present my life work through photos of handmade products which are made from exotic wood and luxury leathers, I hope you may join me on this journey of expanding the artistic side of accessory design. Come dream with me!