Ever curious, Van began creating custom handbags based on her original Black Line Crazy artwork. From LA, she moseyed on down to Leon, the capital of Guanajuato state in Mexico’s ancient Bajio. Here she discovered that Leon, billing itself “The Leather Capital of the World” on web sites, might also cater to a client by the name of Vuitton, Louis Vuitton.
And for our new circular economy, or what Van calls “21C Business Unusual,” she discovered the vegan sort of leather used by Stella McCartney in London.
Tracking down a supplier in Mexico City, she set up a painstaking process: the first step is printing the Black Line Crazy artwork; the second step is embossing the material; third step, texture for more heft; then laminate and aqua sealed.
And the final final step? The Black Line Crazy vegan leathers go off to her boutique bag-making atelier in Leon, Guanajuato.
Van’s Black Line Crazy custom tote, hand-crafted in her Leon atelier, is finally outfitted inside. “Very utilitarian,” says Van.
Fastenings and straps are first class. A dollop of hard-wearing Leon leather keeps them strong for years: elegant black and white striped interior linings have sturdy zippered compartments with round black leather zipper pulls.
Happiness blooms when a Black Line Crazy tote arrives at your door in its own mesh dust bag.
An art collector in San Miguel de Allende even uses her tote for her magazines.
The perfect present for a Covid-isolated pal.
BLACK LINE CRAZY THEN…ONTO YOUR WALLS!
Once Van had found her boutique vegan leather-crafting atelier in Leon, she started imagining a handmade art piece. Off she headed into the Bajio hinterlands, and happily discovered a weaving studio with a two-pedal loom.
She tracked down ethically-sourced wool and the studio owner took to her project enthusiastically. “He’d never done such a weaving on his loom! Now he wants to do more and more.”
Mary van de Wiel’s universe expands exponentially. Her optimism about Mexico is irresistible. “There are so many people and textures to be unearthed here!”