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She Makes Fine Leather Purses & More the Old-Fashioned Way: One at a time with Care & Flare

Highly accomplished leather artisan, Ann Ringness, enjoys working in her studio hand-crafting such fine leather goods as purses, tote bags, carry-alls, credit card cases and more directly from tanned hides. See more of her work below...

For 47 years, Ann has been hand-crafting fine leather handbags using her trusty Pfaff sewing machine turning out original, highly functional designs from colorful cowhides she specially orders.

“From beginning to end, I enjoy every step of the process involved in making a purse,” she says.

While listening to music play in the background, Ann hand cuts the already-tanned leather hides using a roller blade to deftly slice around her pattern templates. Along with cowhide, she also uses lamb leather and pig suede.

Her designs come in a variety of colors and sizes from coin purses, credit card holders and cell phone cases to handbags, tote bags and travel carryalls. Many styles feature creative surface designs with such embellishments as long copper tubes she’s given an antiqued patina. Other surface finishes might include contrast piping, one-of-a-kind buttons, and even woodburning for a unique dimensional effect.

She prepares the reverse side of the hides in a way that will inhibit shedding and then chooses a type of nylon coated fabric to create an indestructible lining complete with organizational pockets. She also favors YKK zippers because of their consistent dependability.

“I especially enjoy making the larger bags because the bigger surface area affords me the opportunity to be even more creative,” she notes.

She describes herself as a tactile person who truly loves the look and feel of fine animal skin and considers it a privilege to work with it. Because she’s a one-woman factory, she’s learned how to set up her studio in a way that maximizes efficiency working in a highly organized production style. In any given day, she might be solely focusing on linings or primarily cutting.

Ann guarantees her creations for as long as the owner has the bag. Prices range from $15 for a leather coin purse and $29 for a cell phone case to a few hundred dollars for decoratively embellished and/or larger sized bags.

“I consider myself fortunate,” she sums up. “I’ve been really lucky to do what I love every day.”


CARRY-ALL with pod surface embellishment.





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