FK chats to Jennifer of all Australia handcrafted leather designs label Klaus Goods! Debuting at the upcoming Melbourne Markets! (above image credit Max D’Orsongna)
Tell us a bit about Klaus Goods and what we can expect to discover?
Klaus Goods is a hand sewn leather goods company specialising in wallets and cases, which I founded in 2012. Motivated by my love of creating goods with my hands, and inspired by recent visits to India and Japan, I decided to begin crafting high quality, timeless products using Australian leathers. Over the last year, Klaus Goods has expanded to include new products such as five-panel hats and waxed canvas tote bags. Klaus Goods is committed to manufacturing locally, with all of our goods made in Australia and New Zealand using locally tanned leathers, Australian milled and waxed canvases and reclaimed materials such as dead stock vintage fabrics. Klaus Goods is founded on the belief that handcrafted products of superlative quality can offer daily enjoyment and years of loyal service.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
My education in the visual arts and previous professional experience in creative roles both inform my work with Klaus Goods. I studied Art History at The University of Melbourne and have worked as a photography assistant and artist’s assistant in Melbourne and New York City. I have long held an interest in textiles, craft and object design and was consistently exploring various craft practices before deciding to dedicate myself to the art of traditional handcrafted leatherwork. After graduating from university, I decided that I wanted to create a business that would allow me to make beautiful, functional objects with my hands and support local manufacturers.
What inspires you daily?
I am inspired by my work on Klaus Goods daily. Sometimes I have hard or frustrating days (as we all do!) but running my own business gives me such great pleasure. Klaus Goods allows me to create useful objects and feel a sense of community and locality in my work with Australian materials and local manufacturers. In my work with Klaus Goods I have met some incredible people, particularly those who have had extensive careers in manufacturing and leatherworking, whom I would otherwise never have met. It is such an inspiration to learn from them, hear of their diverse personal histories, have a laugh and create objects together. My weekly inspiration is The New Yorker, which never fails to engage, and I often listen to great podcasts whilst I work, such as NPR’s All Songs Considered. I try to keep a record of inspiration and new projects at the Klaus Goods blog.
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
In my studio, I am bathed in afternoon sunlight, making for a bright (and a little bit hot sometimes!) working spot, which I really enjoy. I try to keep my workspace tidy but often find I have to do a concerted twenty minute tidy-up before getting to work! I keep some beautiful images up throughout the studio to keep me inspired but by and large I try to keep it as uncluttered as possible. My creative process varies from piece to piece, often times the inspiration for a new product arises from identifying a need, such as that for a slim card carrier, and trying to devise a functional, lasting and elegant object that can address such a requirement.
What do you love about working with leather? And what are some of the challenges?
The unique strength and texture of leather is so beautiful and its quality is self-evident. It’s a joy to create deliberately simple objects that showcase these qualities; in the same way that cooking simple food with exceptional ingredients so often yields the most delicious results. Klaus Goods products are made using Australian-tanned kangaroo and bovine vegetable-tanned leathers. The hides that are used to create our leather are a by-product of the meat industry and as a result we are able to make functional objects from leather that would otherwise be waste material. Leather can be very challenging to work with, each stitch involves a pre-punched hole and is then sewn with two separate needles to create a ‘saddle stitch’, a technique that has existed for centuries. By the end of the day my hands can be quite sore!
What can we expect to see from Klaus Goods at the upcoming Melbourne Markets?
We are very excited to be participating in Melbourne’s Finders Keepers market in April. The complete Klaus Goods range of leather wallets, card cases and other small leather goods will be on offer, as well as iPad and other electronics cases. I am particularly excited to be presenting our debut range of deadstock vintage fabric five panel hats will be available as well.
Photo credits: Photographers Max D’Orsongna and Matt Harding as indicated.