FK chats with Sarah Russell from Scotatto about her Melbourne based leather accessories label.
Tell us a bit about Scotatto and what we can expect to discover?
Scotatto was my childhood nickname; a term of endearment given to me by my dad, according to him to describe my potato like head when I was a baby. My head no longer looks like a potato and so Scotatto has come to describe the colourful and quirky accessories label that I started seven years ago. Scotatto uses beautiful leathers to create playful handmade pieces, designed to be cherished.
What inspired you to start your own label?
For as long as I can remember, I was entrepreneurial. In year 3 When my homemade paper weight business was at its height of success, the head mistress deemed the business unsuitable as it was encouraging students t o bring “large” amounts of money to school, and sadly the business was forced into receivership. In hindsight I probably should have cut her in on the racket. Despite the loss, it was an integral stepping-stone to me developing my business brain, encouraging me to dream about new ventures. Pet grooming services, personalized Christmas card manufacturing and a Bangles cover band – Scotatto was a natural progression.
What is your background and how did you get started working with leather?
After finishing school I started a Degree in Visual Arts. As second year approached I needed to pick a specialisation. There wasn’t one subject that interested me more than the next, and none that I felt a special kin with. It was during this time that my Mother had started a custom made footwear course at TAFE in Adelaide. After seeing her class work I longed to learn something practical and functional. I dropped out of uni and was getting lifts to shoe school with mum the next year. The course taught shoemaking using a technical Italian method. I’ve since swayed away from shoes and translated the skills learned into creating leather accessories galore.
What inspires your work? And what keeps you motivated creatively?
At the moment I’m heavily inspired by shapes and colour. I’ve been playing with tessellation, and symmetry. I love to explore colour clashes and the contrast of rich, warm colours along side candy pastels. I stumbled across a stunning mosaic wall on a recent trip to Nice. It was flooded with imagery of bird life, intricately puzzled together from tiny tile pieces. That mosaic really inspired me to develop my recent collection of bird tail neckpieces. Mosaic as a theme and obsession seems to have carried on to a lot of my current projects. I’ve recently moved into a shared artists studio in Brunswick. I find that working around talented, creative and tenacious people is key to keeping myself motivated.
What do you love about living in Melbourne?
Melbourne is such an easy place to fall in love with living. I love the people that it attracts and nourishes. It has a creative flair that is all its own. It’s a city that’s full of possibilities that keeps me constantly considering and daydreaming.
What new plans do you have for Scotatto this year?
I’m really excited about getting back into the design market circuit this year. It’s something that I used to do weekly when I lived in Sydney a few years ago. I’ve missed the excitement and adrenaline of it, the opportunity for presentation and the face-to-face interaction with customers. I hope to use it as an opportunity to make new ranges regularly, and to gain insightful feedback. I also hope to gain exposure for my online store, where limited ranges and one offs will hopefully become my specialty.