Or, more importantly - how does my artistic brain work?! LOL.
Typically designing our handbags, accessories and totes begins with an idea of materials, a vintage product or an image that captures my imagination. Sometimes it’s an antique show that I go to and I find a fabulous vintage bag or tote.
Sometimes, as it was with the first Mary Ann Bag, I found an antique feed sack for Race Horse Oats and just knew it needed to be a tote bag. What made me select Orange for the first color, I don’t know, but it was a lucky pick as that is still our best selling bag of all time. Although the Orange is currently retired, keep an eye out for its comeback!
The original Orange Mary Ann Tote Bag.
A more recent version of our Mary Ann tote came from an old poster that I found for a Horse Show from the 1970’s. I cut a copy of the poster apart and added a few of my own twists and it too became a Mary Ann Tote with iconic horseshow images.
The Mary Ann Horse Show Tote comes in three different beautiful colorways and two different artwork styles currently.
At home, I have cabinets of equestrian and sporting art images, photographs, antique post cards and posters (known to the antique trade as ephemera). Sometimes I stroll through those things and hit upon an idea. I also keep active mood boards, idea boards and I might have a Pinterest problem. I’m constantly designing. I’ll even be standing in the barn and ideas will hit me from the tack and products that we use daily.
Here’s another example of a bag from drawing, concept to being produced by our Master Harness Makers in our harness shop down the road in Pennsylvania:
Although this style is retired, we have many beautiful benchmade Rebecca Ray leather bags available.
And here’s a bag that I am working on that you will see soon!! A Racing Tote Crossbody. For this bag, I was inspired by the webbing for the shoulder strap that I think is so interesting. Now I am in the process of getting the right graphics on the front for you and I have a few really fabulous ideas up my sleeve.
Racing Tote Crossbody is coming soon!
It often takes me 8 - 10 drawing and ideas before I land on one that I love. I always try to think from the mind of an equestrian with real equestrian trimmings and parts so that the bag, tote or accessory comes from a place of authenticity. Then, if there is art involved for the front, I have a fabulous artist, Pam Breece from Pony Macaroni, who helps me with that from my concept to completion. Then we send all of the drawings and measurements (usually by mail, as our artisans don’t have computers or electricity) so they can make a prototype. I always will spend a few days in the studio working together each season with our harness makers so we can make all of the pieces and parts work together to create a beautiful, functional piece for you at a reasonable, fair price.