Tekst bij het artikel over de get-together Leather voor het Nederlandse platform Simply Slow
Fotografie door Seth Carnill
The North Eastern wind makes it a little cold outside on this early spring day. However the sun warms us under the simple glass roof light at the workshop of Marjel van Tilborg. We are perched at BAGISM. When we entered the shop and studio for the first time we were immediately charmed by the uniqueness of the spot and the tranquility of her work. Craft at its best, simple and pure. Besides handmade bags, our eyes were attracted to the worn tools and photogenic oak drawers holding the ‘tucked away’ components of a bag.
It is impossible making a good leather bag like it is fabric. It took Marjel years to master her craft, and she has continued to learn and explore ever since she came into contact with the manufacturing process of bags. Back in 2008 Marjel searched for a person to create a bag for her and became inspired by the last descendent of a generation of bag manufacturers that started in 1928. He taught her the ‘ins and outs’ of the craft and her label Bagism originated when she received the offer to take over the renowned bag workshop. She jumped at the opportunity to learn all about designing and put together her first Bagism bag. She continues to build the brand with an honest and pure approach to her craft.
Composing all parts from leather pieces, carefully cut by hand with a precise and accurate ability. With a small increasing production growth, Marjel is now in the position to use tailor made industrial fabricated knives. A single heavy knife for each specific part in your bag seems impressive in comparison to the elegance of her work. We are impressed. Innovations such as ‘laser cut outs’ give her the ability to discover and explore the boundaries of her field. An iconic design like the ‘grandmothers grocery net’ is brought back to life in a very attractive contemporary form.
At our GET TOGETHER Marjel speaks attentively and we listen enthralled. We got a closer look into the design of our beloved bags. The talk isn’t about transient trends and established names, it is about the appreciation for simplicity and handmade attention to detail created under a simple wired glass roof light. Making a bag starts with selecting the best natural materials, helped by knowing your local tanner.
Tanning is a pure authentic craft which innovates itself by questions from designers such as Marjel – from skin-selection to conditioning, from dying to milling and from embossing to surface processes. Many tanners come from leather-making dynasties and represent up to 5 generations of ancestral know-how. With that much knowledge you would expect they would be done learning about their craft, but it is the same as designing a bag, leather-making education never ends.
Fell in love with an utmost expensive bag? It is probably because of the unique feeling how softness grows by time, which is to cherish. Again and again we become aware about the price of our daily utensils. Loving a bag is not fashionably volatile, it is determined by time and choosing the best natural materials. Thank you Marjel for giving us a peek into your life.