Handmade Holiday: Molly Virginia Made’s handmade leather accessories

The first in a series of featured artisans who are doing wonderful things right here in Richmond—things that should make it on your holiday wishlist, probably.

First, you’re going to want to check out these babies. Now, read on!

1. You’re selling your leather goods at Handmade Holiday 2015. Do you have a lot of competition there? In my mind I imagine it’s a great place to talk shop and swap secrets with other people who maybe work with leather or make accessories, but maybe it’s a cutthroat atmosphere! 

This is actually my first time selling work at Handmade Holiday. Since my business is not yet a year old, this is my first go at the holiday season! I’m so excited about Handmade Holiday simply because I’ll get to meet a fantastic bunch of makers (and maybe even do some shopping for myself!). I may be completely naive, but in my interactions so far with other RVA makers, everyone is unbelievably supportive of each other. Handmade Holiday might be cutthroat for all I know, but Richmond seems to foster a creative community that is incredibly supportive and understanding of one another.  

2. How on earth do you make what you make? I’ve never really seen anything like it. 

Molly Virginia Made was very organic in its start–the intent was never to create a business, just to make one small wallet for myself.  Once I figured out how to dye the leather, however, creating wallets became way too fun to abandon. Each piece is marbled individually through a process that I developed earlier this year. I create the work in my (tiny!) apartment, and so it often looks as if a paint bomb has exploded in the living room!  

3. What are you most inspired by as far as your work goes?

Inspiration often comes from the colors and textures I find in my daily routine. I surround myself with lots of plants, beautiful textiles, and bizarre art–many of which continue to push me down different avenues of design. My background is in painting, and I’ve always been intrigued by organic lines and naturally occurring shapes. In my mind, leather is just a new, barely explored, canvas.  

4. Who are your other favorite local makers?


I love, love, love the work of Surface Handmade, Drift Riot, and Brittanny Chanel Jewelry. All three makers have such beautiful aesthetics and are incredibly motivating to me as women-owned businesses. Wheelborne, however, is a local bag-maker whose attention to detail has inspired me the most. His waxed canvas and leather backpacks and panniers are very complex and take a long amount of time to produce, yet he never seems to back down on quality.  

5. The “maker” title is becoming so widespread–where to you is the line between a “crafter,” a “maker,” and a “producer.” Or is there any?

This question is one that I personally struggle with.  My background is in painting and, like many art students, I was always taught that creating art was vastly different than crafting. The more I create, however, the more I’m sure that there is no real line between art and crafts. Just because an object is utilitarian does not mean it is not art. “Crafter,” “maker,” and “producer” are all titles that essentially mean the same thing–this person is an artist and they are figuring out a way to make their art available to others.  

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Meet Molly at see, touch, smell, love these sort of shockingly gorgeous leather bags, wallets, and keychains at Handmade Holiday 2015 on December 5th from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. If you can’t make it, view and purchase her work online.

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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