Friday, April 9, 2010

billykirk - Wallets, Card Holders, Wrist Straps

I'm afraid that I'm a child of my times in that, when thinking of the Amish, the first thing that springs to mind is Harrison Ford in the movie 'Witness'. Followed closely by thoughts of furniture, of course. So once one is able to banish all thoughts of Harrison Ford (just thinking about the last Indiana Jones movie does the trick), generally all thoughts of the Amish turn to their extraordinary craftsmanship, a craftsmanship that is all the more admirable in light of their unwillingness to rely on modern shortcuts or machines, and also their belief in the beauty of simple yet well made goods.

The brothers of Billykirk share this passion for well-made goods and a timeless aesthetic, and have been designing and working leather in time-honored traditions since 1999. With the assistance of a small group of Amish leather workers they create beautiful leather goods whose quality is apparent in every hand finished stitch and (often vintage sourced) piece of hardware. Billykirk uses only the highest quality domestic or Italian leathers that have been vegetable dyed in the tradition of the Old West, a process that is not only better for the environment but lends itself so well to their designs because of its durability and how it changes and ages over time. The brothers even invite customers to share images of their Billykirk items after they've been 'personalized', and quite frankly from some of the images I've seen, it makes me all the more eager to get that wallet in my back pocket and start doing some 'personalizing'. See our assortment of wallets, card cases, and wristbands in the webshop or stop by our shop on the Leliegracht to see/feel them in person.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gelukspopjes - Annemoon van Steen

When considering a good luck charm, one might possibly go the obvious route: the left-hind leg of a rabbit, shot with a silver bullet by a cross-eyed man in a graveyard on a Friday (as any student of North-American lore can tell you, any other rabbit's foot is just a useless part from a most likely dead animal, having no supernatural powers whatsoever!). You could search a field for a lucky clover or even hang a horseshoe in your doorway - like a "U" of course, because upside down all the luck runs out.

 But here's the thing: all these charms are just so.... typical. So mundane, so run-of-the-mill, so ordinaire.

So when we saw Annemoon van Steen's Gelukspopjes ('Good Luck Dolls' in Dutch) we knew we'd found just the thing. Each doll is one of a kind, handmade by Annemoon herself, with arms and legs sculpted from clay then painted. Each doll has a model number, 'date of birth', and luck category. The perfect companion for hard times and dull rooms. A few are available in the webshop or stop by the Leliegracht to peruse our full collection.