FK chats to Eleisha of beautiful Brisbane based leather goods label, chocolate brownie!
Can you tell us about your lovely label?
“chocolate brownie” is the creation of contemporary leather goods using time-tested handcrafting techniques. Launched in April of this year by me, Eleisha Nylund, a Brisbane-based designer/maker. All my pieces are entirely hand made by me; the cutting, staining, forming, stitching is all achieved with a meticulous eye, a steady hand, and a patient mind. This, in turn, translates into objects that are made to last. chocolate brownie pieces are designed to become part of who you are, part of your story.
What is your background and how did you started working with leather goods? and where the name comes from?
I originally created chocolate brownie as a side-project from my primary professions as a contemporary jeweller and jewellery teacher. However a serendipitous collection of events pulled me away from my traditional medium of precious metals and stones, towards a material that I describe as much warmer, and beautifully subtle. After uncovering my desire for the craft, I organised a workshop with a past student of mine, whom I fondly call Uncle Rod, who has leatherwork as one of the many skills he hangs on his craftsman’s belt. I was on morning tea duty, and brought my legendary chocolate brownies. Morning tea was skipped because everyone was so engaged with the leather. But eventually afternoon tea was served, and a silence fell on the group of makers around the dining table as the brownie was tested. So it was from these humble beginnings that chocolate brownie was born.
How has your creative style developed over time? and what inspires your work?
My pieces have gone from being visually and technically complicated, to visually simple yet still technically complicated. A quote from sculptor Constantin Brancusi sums up the where I am at with my creative style perfectly “simplicity is complexity resolved”.
chocolate brownie is inspired by a passion for durable materials, traditional craftsmanship, contemporary design and a relationship between person and object.
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
It looks like an ordinary garage situated at the bottom of a block of units, but inside is a different story. As my Christmas present last year my partner converted the garage into my studio space. He built me a leather drying rack, a staining bench, a cutting bench, and a leather storage rack. I added some finishing touches to the space with some inspirational posters.
Lots and lots of sketches, with numbers and calculations scribbled everywhere. I generally don’t do patterns. When the numbers and calculations make sense I then start cutting straight into the leather.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
The relationship between customer and maker helps define what chocolate brownie is all about; it’s what I love. I love the connection with the customer, and the relationship they have with the product that I have poured myself into. The quality of the products, materials and techniques reflect this, and results in an intimacy that is unmatched in a retail environment. As such, chocolate brownie is only available through direct interaction with me, either online or in person. This has been my greatest challenge; uncovering how to get chocolate brownie in front of people without losing the relationship with my customer.
What new plans do you have for Chocolate Brownie this year?
A pop-up shop in my hometown of Brisbane later this year is on the cards. However, what’s got me really excited is a trip to Seattle in October. I can’t wait to see how chocolate brownie is received over there!