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Artistic Leather & Purse Lover Has Found Her Perfect Retirement Gig

Pictured: Emma Quilted Travel Hobo - ($260) Lined with three interior pockets. Scroll down to view more of Kris Frandson's one-of-a-kind leather creations...


Former Bartlett, IL education professional -- Kris Frandson -- will be the first to state that she is not interested in becoming a factory by producing large quantities of leather bags in her retirement. However, her knowledge and skillset creating a variety of one-of-a-kind bags make her items a popular choice among many satisfied customers.

"My desire is to grow as a leather artist finding my aesthetic by playing with leather, thread and hardware," Kris explains.

To that end, she will be devoting much time during the 2024 Winter experimenting and expanding her current line that includes everything from slouchy hobos and crossbody bags to totes and wristlets. Her goal with each piece she creates is to make a "walking piece of art."

Although art was not her career focus while studying in school, she always took a lot of art classes including participation in 4-H as a child. After retiring from a local school district in 2019, she took a year of classes at the Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Art, 3717 N. Ravenswood in Chicago.

"It's an amazing creative space for makers," Kris describes. "You walk in and instantly that smell of leather hits you. Then you see rolls and rolls of colorful leather lining the shelves. My first project was a clutch purse completed in a small leather goods class and I instantly fell in love with the process."

Kris works with both vegetan leather and chrome tan leather in various weights and thicknesses depending on her finished product. And, while traveling in Norway recently, she brought home colorful, woven Norwegian braid trim to use for straps on her crossbody bags. Often she names her designs after the friends or family members they're created for to make them even more distinctive.

She has purchased an industrial sewing machine and now works from her basement studio. Her work can be found in the Dempsey Gallery at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center, 37W570 Bolcum Road in St. Charles, IL. She does not have a website, but can be reached through email for information about her inventory or questions about commissioning an original design.

For more information, email Kris at:

Ingrid Crossbody Bag (Braid from Scandinavia so prices vary between $120-160)

Front: Shirley Small Hobo (prices range based upon leather $140-$175) Lined with three interior pockets.

Katie Small Backpack (price $150)

Crazy Quilt Tote ($240) Lined with three interior pockets

Carol Travel Hobo (prices range. between $195-280 based upon available leather)

Lined with three interior pockets.

Festival bags (these are one of a kind and vary in design and price).

Bartlett, IL leather artist, KRIS FRANDSON.

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