Jason of Makr Carry Goods produces a line of hand-crafted leather goods, totes and accessories under the Makr Carry Goods label and was kind of to sit with Revolver to discuss his passion, craft and past.
Could you walk thru your background - do you have formal study in leather works?
I have made things since I can remember being alive. It goes:
Fine Arts background starting really, really early (my mother was an art teacher), then I started skateboarding which led to photography, got in to art school for photography, decided I liked photography more than I wanted it to be my job, started building furniture (father is a builder), went on to do interior architecture/architecture/product design, worked at an architecture/branding firm, but I wanted something more tangible, so I started Makr.
Now I build furniture and products and take photographs of them. I think it all worked out.
To answer the question: I do not have any formal training in leather work. To me, it is a beautiful material that works well with the methods and aesthetic that I am currently interested in. Paying attention and trying to do things better every time is my idea of "craft.”
What attracts you to working with leather?
I feel it is a material that my designs translate well into. I love canvas/cotton duck/drill fabrics just as much. Natural materials are preferred: wood, metal, cotton, leather.
Where do you source your designs? Does the material dictate or do you have a vision and make materials work for it?
It's a completely mixed process. I'm constantly thinking, solving problems and trying to use processes/limitations to my advantage. Making things in the US has a ton of issues, but those are fun to work around. The metal parts limitations are really annoying though. Why does everything have to be chrome? I can't find a good gunmetal/jewelers bronze part to save my life. I actually modeled one in 3D today to have custom cast. Expensive, but worth it.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Real life and photographs of real life.
What kind of workspace do you have?
It's a storefront space with huge windows, tall ceilings and concrete floors. I built the main space with my dad. It’s big enough to get things done and small enough to feel comfortable and manageable. I built most of the furniture myself. I really feel lucky to have such a great space. I couldn't be happier.
How do you balance function with design?
I assume you mean how do I create things that work and look decent at the same time. Proportion, materials, and understanding the essence of what the product is or should be. I try to eliminate everything that is unnecessary but still have a clear brand story. Not over designing is one of the toughest challenges.
Your blog features beautiful random balances between Surf, Skateboarding, Youth Culture, Nature and more? Do you think Makr goods results from these worlds?
I do. I have skateboarded for over 15 years and still do often. I find that my favorite stores/blogs/companies have at least a small part to do with these types of activities and lifestyles. Simple everyday beauty is what our project is about and we feel that the images and people that inspire us are as important as the product itself. Our output has been limited to small goods and a few bags, but that is about to change. We have been working on a bag line for the better part of a year that will release very soon. There is also a small skateboard project that we are doing. A very subtle change to a typical board with hand painted/stained finish. We feel like Makr is an accessory to people that have grown up in these worlds.