London Tan Alfred Wallace of Joseph P Marcellino
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JW asked me to post some progress photos, so in an attempt to keep it interesting I will post at various intervals spread across 2 days during the construction of his bag.
The Bespoke process is extremely important to me. It is how the community once manufactured goods for each other. It is a one on one direct experience. I’ve set up my business online and off line to have no middle person, no customer service rep, and no sales person. My brand has grown by word of mouth extraordinarily well in the past few years, and my goal has always remained the same - a one on one commission directly with the artist type of business. The waiting list might be a bit longer, prices a bit higher depending on how you compare, but my commitment to my artwork / your bag is excellence, originality and a true bespoke process. I have also tried to make this online ordering process as easy, worry free and enjoyable as possible and use mediums like this forum to emphasize the – one bag, one craftsman relationship in manufacturing. I hope I am keeping it fresh and interesting.
The bag I am about to make is a custom variation of my Classic briefcase / satchel style called The Alfred Wallace. This link will be where I will post this new style on my website when finished.
The Alfred Wallace Style 2207 by The Joseph P Marcellino Bag Co.
The origins of my leather are also very important to me, as it is with other makers and high-end design houses. The leather is American raised steer and most importantly tanned in St Louis by The Hermann Oak Tannery using an old blend of English bridle. Old vegetable tanning houses like this have become rare in America as like many other industries, mine included (NY manufacturing and design). We are a “specialty” industry catering to high-end luxury markets that want the highest quality goods.
I began late today on Wednesday and started with a fresh hide. Depending on the size of the bag, ill cut one bag or 2 at the most, with the main parts at, as my English friends like to call the "butt section" (in Brooklyn we call it something that might not be appropriate for this forum). But, it is the best section on the hide with the tightest fiber density. the belly gets tossed.
This is the order form with the raw cuts of the bag
Here is a close up of the nice tight fibers from the raw cut of the main section. "flesh side / inside" up
here you can see the beauty of vegetable tanned leather and English bridle in particular and the way the London Tan fills that top layer
more to come
Edited by JP Marcellino - 10/2/13 at 7:00pm
Its getting late, around 10pm, the village is calming down, the bars / pubs rule the night, and i am just about done for the day with this bag.
after the cuts and very close inspection of all the parts, i hand rub and condition the hide. This is an important part because this will be the last time these parts are laying flat and able to be rubbed down in this way. Certain conditioners that i have developed for this stage are applied and hand working techniques. Too hard and you will crack the leather and edges and too soft at best will do nothing and at worst will leave tiny dirt particles that could scratch and damage the top layer as i work with it.
I have also hand worked, sealed and conditioned all the edges with techniques and substances that i have developed throughout the years and after thousands of bags. This is all before the painting process, which this bag is do to get. Some bags call for natural edges and with them i would bring it to this point and a final application of light beeswax and polish.
These are the long straps with pointed tips as requested.
Today is Thursday and its a full day on this bag. As you could see i work late and i also have the shop open late for customers that want to come by after work. The middle diver and the key holder call for suede lining in sand color. I use a premium suede that comes out really soft to the touch and has an awesome feel to it. JW did not want his bag fully lined with suede. he wanted the rest of the bag to remain naturally lined but pasted down and hand worked smooth.
I set the suede lining to the middle divider and the small piece on top is the key holder. Left it overnight for a nice hard cement and will punch out the stitching holes today. This is a delicate process and needs careful attention to detail, which could probably be said to the entire bag really.
Its mid day. all the raw cuts are done, inspected, smoothed out, and conditioned. the suede has cured wonderfully. and now for the edges.
i offer the ability to customize almost every aspect of my bags along with different types of edges. I have over 70 styles currently with many more coming out in 2014. I have done probably triple the amount in the past few years that i no longer sell. what this means is that i have done edging on bridle and English bridle in so many variations, from straight up natural right from the cut with tight edges, beveled cut, beveled pressed, pressed lines, carved lines, single and double stitching edges, distressed to all of that and / or with wax, dye, paint, edge kote, and thick latex. I use my own blend that i developed depending on application.
Some people like certain grungy or natural types and others like paint and polished, this bag is that. The edges will be more on the latex / waxy side to give a nice feel and polished look.
There are multiple coats involved and this is the first, you can see the shine it takes already as the light hits it up and close.
Its later in the day, i got caught up with some other business stuff so my schedule is off somewhat, im going to work late and catch up so i can finish this bag by tomorrow.
I did get to some complicated and delicate stuff.
the following pictures are of the underside of my Bottom cross stitch handle with d rings. I have always felt an artist is not an artist unless he creates something original that others appreciate. My game, is in manufacturing a briefcase and satchel that has roughly stayed the same for many generations and will probably do so for the next 50 years. This is one of the main reasons i have chosen to specialize in the leather briefcase. it is no one persons particular design - it is in the public domain if you will, or, like the technocrat i am, i like using the analogy of open source. yes, the "briefcase" is open source, like the Firefox browser in a way. But, what i try to make my style are the particulars and that brings me back to my handle.
I created the bottom cross stitch handle to resemble the feel of a luxury car steering wheel. It has a clean simple top and wraps around underneath to a tight and very secure cross stitch. A note on doing a cross stitch on handles is that it is very difficult and time consuming but the benefits complete the overall aesthetic and original quality of my bags. When people see a cross stitch like this they understand right away that this could have only been built by careful hands. The only machine used is a riveter to secure everything in place internally as an overall precaution that takes away stress from the stitching.
I also set the center lock in place and punched out all the holes for stitching.
These are careful clean precise punched holes - a necessary requirement for high level stitching.
ah, the good old days of technology when phones could be used as bricks.
full day 2 is over, i didn't spend the entire day on the bag, so if you consider what i did yesterday and today i would say 1day + so far working on this bag.
Here is the custom initials with thick letters and no paint in the top center. Also the round center lock is set into the front plate with stitching around it and the 2 strap holders are stitched in or is it stitched on. imac in the back looping pics.
the flap hasp is not set yet, just measuring it up
What? i got multitasking down to an art-form. I like to read the great works of Aristotle as I'm working. ( i wish there was a universal sign for sarcasm online, because having to state it takes the meaning right out of it and makes me sound hinky)
these shots are just for people who like everything into perspective
The handle and its spine is set onto the top flap and the hasp is permanently set
ok, this bag is finished and ready to take a long trip around the world. I had some more business to take care of yesterday and training some new apprentices slowed me down but i was able to finish it in the later part of the day. All in all i would say about 2.5 to 3 days for those keeping track.
I had fun setting up these photos. This is a new style and i will have it available at the link below. I can offer 10% discount as i did for JW and for all style forum members for at least until the holidays but colors might be limited due to stock. if ordering a holiday gift you need to get it in at least 1 month before your due date. You must PM or email me for the code as this discount is only for members.
The Alfred Wallace Style 2207 by The Joseph P Marcellino Bag Co.
i spared no expense on stitching detail for this bag. it has just the right amount. JW did not go with flap or strap edge detail but i did hand stitch the parts you normally don't see like the inside pockets and buckle straps.
this is part of the adjustable shoulder strap
this is a double snap removable key holder. it is connected to the top d ring now but there is also a small d ring inside.
tight stitching detail on even the key holder. This is lined with sand suede and so is the key holder strap
back side of the key holder
double compartments with pockets on the front. the big pocket is custom made for a Samsung Galaxy. You can also see the key strap connected to the inside d ring
these are called hardcover books. They were once popular among humans before the computers and Internets decimated their existence to where only weird people now collect them and those plastic things they call albums.
Sand suede lined internal middle divider
The final product