Ava Goldberg’s introduction to running a homegrown product line started young—like, before she could walk. “My parents started a pretty prominent kids’ clothing company when I was one and named it Ava Baby,” she explains. Those early days as the face of an indie brand (so major) must have : Ava spent her college and early twenties cultivating every creative skill under the sun—from printmaking on metal, fabric, and wood at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts to stone-setting and soldering for jewelers and silversmiths.
Even so, it wasn’t until she came across leatherwork that things fully clicked for the Denver-based artist, who also runs a print shop, Banshee Press, with her bestie. “Clothes wear out and paper gets wet, but leather breaks in and takes on a life of its own. It stains, it fades, it softens—you see character in an older piece,” she explains of the appeal. Ava’s embrace of imperfections doesn’t extend to her Animal Handmade line and her own painstaking technique, which involves pressing intricate motifs of animals, mystical third eyes, and plant life into wet hides of leather and then flattening them as they dry before sewing them into slim wallets or clutches. The finished products? Says Ava, “My work ends up being really tactile—the patterns become almost like braille.” Not to get too touchy-feely, but it’s those details that will make you wanna embrace this woman’s goods for a long time to come. —neha kulsh