“Handmade”, a dictionary with the fragrance of wisdom.
What is fascinating about artisanal craftsmanship is not only the work done by hand to create an object, but also the words that explain and enrich that work.
We call a bag a bag. And we never think any more of how many other words can define it and tell its story. Starting from the soul, which cannot be seen, but forms its skeleton, that inner part which preserves its way of being and its shape.
The words of bags are beautiful, they are rich-sounding, they evoke the smells in workshops and an almost elite knowledge. Forming, binding, drumming: what on earth can these mean? Or base, flap and backflap. Each part has a name of its own. Starting from the beginning when technologies with mysterious names such as cad (which stands for computer-assisted design) start the journey in a dictionary which smells of old things made of materials and knowledge.
Here is the story in words, the six phases through which Pulchra takes shape.
The paper pattern
Just as we think of a tailor creating a suit, this is how we must imagine the cutter who starts from a very simple and old tool, the paper pattern, to start preparing Pulchra. First of all, he carefully inspects the leathers to select the best points, rejecting all the imperfections and then he cuts: 50 different sections which will give rise to the bag.
Bonding, skiving and compensating
It is not enough to take the cut leather and join it together. The sections of leather that have been cut are bonded with a reinforcement and the edges are trimmed so that the different thicknesses of leather are compensated. It is a delicate work of preparation, because it allows Pulchra to take shape in perfect harmony.
Template or shape
The template is literally a shape. The one to construct Pulchra is made of wood and is used to assemble the bag respecting the final size. Only once the body of the bag has been mounted on this shape are the other parts sewn together.
Scuffing and painting: the fascination of the borders
The borders are the edges of the bag. Pulchra plays a lot with colours, between tone-on-tone borders and contrasting ones. But passing a paintbrush over them is not enough. The preparation of the borders is also a delicate job. Before the colour, the borders are scuffed, i.e. they are passed by hand over abrasive rollers so that they become smooth and even. Then they are prepared to ensure the colour lasts and in the end, several coats of colour are given to reach the desired intensity.
Rivets and dome screw cover caps: the beauty of metals
The rings, the rivets and the dome screw cover caps for the shoulder strap, the fastening with the three springs and all the metals, designed for Pulchra, are mounted by hand. It is work which again requires maximum precision and a steady hand: microscopic screws used in watchmaking have to be tightened and seams no longer than a millimetre have to be sewn.
The final packaging, which is more than it looks.
And the final packaging. Sharp eyes inspect the bag one last time, loving hands place a welcome note in its inside velvet pocket for the person who will use it and then it is put with great care into a box designed solely for it.
The journey in the workshop ends here. A new story starts with new words to keep the story of Pulchra safe under its flap and inside its soul.
Pulchra, another beloved word, another word…”beautiful”