As I’ve mentioned many times in this blog, I’m slow at making things. Everything I do is one at a time and really the opposite of efficient and high throughput. This is one of the main reasons I love making things, and it is also one of the reasons why I have my “day job“.
Life in my day job as a professor at a major university requires lots of grant support, which has become very tough these days. NPR recently ran a series of stories last week about biomedical funding at the NIH. Pretty accurate…and pretty depressing. I’ve been fortunate to be successful recently, but it can still be stressful thinking about the next few years. It is always hard when there is a lot of financial pressure on something you love to do. That is one reason why I like being slow and inefficient at leather work. It balances the high-stakes stress of fighting for grants.
Despite the fact that I’m slow, I have the annoying bug that I also like high tech. Part of this is my day job, which requires it. Another justification is that I make leather goods for things like iPads and iPhones. Also, my old phone’s battery was pretty lousy. However, the real reason I got my new iPhone 6 was that I like new gadgets…
I also like the combination of homemade imperfection and high tech “perfection” (except batteries!). I made a new case for my iPhone today. These minimal cases are really tough! The goal is to have something that feels good, doesn’t fall off, protects, maintains the slick and thin feel of the wonderful Jony Ive designs without adding a ton of bulk. I also love a soft and pliable leather that will develop more and more richness over time.
I like what I was able to put together. It is kangaroo leather that is first formed wet over a wooden form. The seams are hand sewn, and the whole thing slips on and off the phone like a slipper. It is tough to photograph (I’m always amazed by the slick photos that Apple has of their products), but it feels good in my pocket and hand.
On a semi-related note, I managed to make the finals of the Martha Stewart American made competition. Winners are decided by public voting from now until mid October. The crazy thing is that everyone gets 6 votes each day, and you can apply these to the same person. I’d appreciate your vote(s), but be sure not to just vote for me. There are many good entries, and I’ve voted for many of them!