Marieke Création creates noble leather goods from locally sources materials to be more sustainable
Marieke Création creates noble leather goods from locally sources materials
17 augustus 2021 
14 min. read

Marieke Création creates noble leather goods from locally sources materials

Marieke Création: 'how the professionals do it'. 

A series by kick ass quilts on how creative fabric businesses create sustainably and mindful.


In the series ‘how the professionals create fabric art sustainably’  kick ass quilts features a professional maker and their way of working. The article focuses on ways the professional uses materials to be more sustainably and mindful of the impact of their work on their social and natural environment.

Marieke is a creator of leather goods from Annecy, France. She uses locally sources leather with interesting colours and textures. Those colours she uses to create her colourful, unique and creative designs with fun appliqué features. It is the same kind of appliqué techniques used in quilting. 

Marieke is mindful of what it takes to create the leather she uses and the potential devastating impact on the environment to create it. To prevent this, she sources the leather locally from tanneries that uphold European environmental regulations. Also, by cleverly mapping and planning her products, she uses 99% of the leather, reducing waste to almost nothing. Lastly, for Marieke, leather good are a noble product, which, when created well, can last a long time which reduces the need to buy a lot of stuff. 

Find out more about how Marieke works in the interview below. 

Also check her website for goods and more information (no affiliation, I just think Marieke her work is super cool).


Marieke Creation maker of leather goods, locally sources and user of scraps


What kind of work do you make with textiles:

Lined leather bags

leather-leg-bag-from-locally-sourced-materials-marieke-création


How did you end up working with leather? 

Since I was a child I have always loved creative expressions such as drawing, painting, crafts of all kinds, I dreamed of being an artist when I grew up!


I grew up in a small village in the Alps, where a small medieval village fair started to be born in the 90s. (...) It allowed me to grow up with the presence of an imaginary and wonderful world.


I grew up in a small village in the Alps, where a small medieval village fair started to be born in the 90s. Today it has become one of the most beautiful and well known medieval fairs around. Every year, this event was the one I was looking forward to the most, and it still is! -

It allowed me to grow up with the presence of an imaginary and wonderful world. At that market, I discovered the old trades of craftsmen like glass-blower, pottery, and blacksmith.

In 2005, I discovered the work of leather during a trip to Andalusia. Very quickly conquered by the textures, colours and different materials, the nobility of this raw material and the infinite possibilities of creation, I returned to France to do a professional training in leather goods. Here I learned the different stages of leather work, from pattern making to finishing. At the end of this training, the adventure called “Marieke Creation” began.

I was 19 years old at the time and I had just left the fine arts. 

I decide to try to launch my small company called Marieke Création


How did you find yourself creating handmade leather goods? 

I wanted an artistic job, and after my studies in fine arts I looked for an artistic job more down to earth and less worldly than the fine arts.


Where do you get your materials?

I started my activity in Andalusia, so I naturally worked with leather from Seville and Córdoba. Now that I have been living in France for 10 years, I look for leather from French tanneries, but I don't always find what I'm looking for. I also order some leather from Germany, Spain, and Italy. 

I prefer to choose locally produced materials because I feel that I am not contributing to child labour, reduce transportation and pollution, and I am also more sure that the waste is treated well thanks to European standards 


How do you use your materials?

I try to get the most out of the skins. First I will cut the pieces for one or two bags (depending on the size of the skin) by placing the pieces in such a way as to avoid defects (such as a scar for example). I also optimize placing of the pattern to have the least amount of leftovers. 

red-and-black-leather-backpack-collection-marieke-création


After that, I take the leather scraps and see what I can do with them. Usually I make some wallets or bracelets from the scraps. I have a whole collection of small leather accessories that allow me to get value out of the scraps.

hedgehog-coin-purse-leather-applique and made from scraps-marieke-création

After that, when I have only the smallest scraps left, I sort them into different piles: some pieces will become key rings, others will be used to make my labels (I make the labels of my products by hand) and finally I also make small leather bows to decorate the gift packages. I make the bows from leather, so I don’t have to use plastic. 

mushroom-keychains-made-from-leather-scraps-with-applique-technique-marieke-création

The smallest pieces that I have left are given to jewellery designers who use leather inlays in earrings, for example, or to associations that offer crafts to children (collages, decoration …).


At the end of my process, about 99% of the leather is used.


What is important for you to decide which materials to use and where to get it? 

I am looking for leathers that are coloured, soft, and with a natural or funky look.

I also prefer to buy as locally as possible. That is because I do not want to use any material that is made from child labour. I also do not want the leather to contain dangerous chemicals. Additionally, I do not wish that the tannery rejects its waste in the environment. Lastly, I do not wish that my materials come from the other end of the world, because of the pollution transportation will cause. 

Sourcing locally also ensures I know how the leather is produced. I pick tanneries that have social working condition and do not dump dangerous waste in the environment. 

In this way, I am sure that the materials I use do not add to pollution through long transportation times, child labour or environmental destruction by dumping chemical waste. 

leather-wallets-with-applique-made-from-scraps-in-bold-colours-made-by-marieke-création

Which role plays sustainability and the environment in your decisions to get materials

This is the most important thing, I am willing to pay 10 times more for my raw materials to source it locally.


Why is leather art and craftsmanship important to you?

It is one of the oldest crafts in the world: prehistoric men already used leather to make their clothes. 


Leather work is a technique with noble materials and allows the manufacture of durable objects, which stand the test of time, and make it possible to buy less and better quality objects.


We find the art and craftsmanship of leather through all eras and all cultures of humanity. Also, there are immense archaeological treasures across the planet and there are thousands of different methods and know-how that can constantly be renewed. Leather work is a technique with noble materials and allows the manufacture of durable objects, which stand the test of time, and make it possible to buy less and better quality objects.


Which tips can you give beginning artists?

To persevere, and to never be discouraged. It takes many years to be able to live properly from an artistic profession, so it’s important to believe in your choices and to always move forward.


To persevere, and to never be discouraged. It takes many years to be able to live properly from an artistic profession, so it’s important to believe in your choices and to always move forward.



Marieke creation applique a fox from scraps on a leather wallet

How do you get new ideas?

I have dozens of new ideas every day, and it's a huge frustration to only be able to achieve only a few. Every time I create something, it makes me want to test lots of variations: smaller, bigger, another mix of colours … the possibilities are endless.


Do you think the world would be a better place if more people made stuff with their own hands, and why?

Absolutely. The fact of making something with your hand makes you happy, gives you self-confidence, occupies the mind with very interesting concepts to realize and allows projects to progress concretely. It is very pleasant to create something from start to finish!


own-bag-from-leather-and-applique-with-scraps-marieke-création

Take away lessons: how to make fabric art sustainably, considering its impact on the environment

As Marieke has shown, it is possible to make a living creating beautiful objects in a sustainable and mindful way. This she does by using the materials as efficient as possible and by making mindful decisions on where to source materials.

Want to create in a more sustainable and mindful, kick ass, way? 


Key lessons to be more sustainably in your own craft:

  • Source materials local, so you can check and control conditions under which materials have been created and reduce transport costs.
  • Make the most of your materials by using scraps for other projects.
  • Give away scraps to benefit others if you can't use them.
  • Source your materials thoughtfully to stay within your values in the complete cycle of your production / art. 


Leave a comment: kick ass quilts discussion points

  1. Is it good to use leather when used in a mindful and sustainably way? 
  2. What do you think of Marieke Création, which item is your favourite?
  3. How are you going to apply the lessons from Marieke's way of working?
  4. Did her fun appliqué designs give you inspiration for your own quilting designs? Maybe you also have a lot of scraps you can use for small appliqué pieces. 


About the author
Quilting has made me a stronger, more developed, and joyful person, and I've seen the same in many other people. Creativity is key to finding joy in life. There are many ways of being creative, I am your teacher in the quilting fabrication department.
marieke
By

marieke

on 17 Aug 2021

A big thank to this spotlighting on my daily work, I am honored !

Rianne Doller
By

Rianne Doller

on 17 Aug 2021

Thanks to you! You really make amazing stuff. And I was very interested to learn about the ways to make your craft more sustainable

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