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Behind The Scenes

How Materials + Process Gets Down With Leather

Turning a cowhide into a set of stunning iPad cases is no easy task, but for Christine Marcelino of Materials + Process, it’s just another day at the office. Utilizing her material of choice, veg-tanned leather, she constructs each creation in a way that helps the leather soften and age to its fullest potential. Here, a tour of how she whipped up her first Of a Kind edition. —carlye wisel Step 1: Choosing Each Hide Carefully. “I have two leather guys that I visit. Every now and then when I’m building a new collection, I’ll go up to Napa and hang out with them and see what they have that really fits my style. It takes me ten, sometimes twenty, minutes to look at the piece of hide and figure out if it’s workable or not. The hide can be around 14 to 15 square feet, so you have to look at it to see if it’s really worth it.”Step 2: Making the Most of the Leather. “Here, I find the most efficient and consistent way to place the patterns and cut the pieces. It’s like a puzzle. I try to find the best places for each of the pieces to make sure that the material fits well for the functionality. You don’t want to make a hundred cuts, but I also want to make sure I get the best pieces out of the hide.”Step 3: Stamping on the Materials + Process Logo.“I stamp it now because of the way leathers work: You have to moisten it, and you want to get it as flat as possible. I don’t want to make an impression on the final piece and ruin the leather underneath.”Step 5: Sewing Everything Together.“I guess the biggest challenge is being a one-man production team. Although I’ve had some help from friends, most of the time it’s just me. The actually sewing the leather takes a few minutes; most of the work comes before and after. I use an awesome sewing machine, but I don’t have machines to cut and trim the the materials. I have to be very careful and diligent. That’s part of the reason I got into this.”Step 6: Trimming the Excess and Doing a Quality Check.“I’ll push on the seams a bit to make sure they’re all sewn up well. Then, I clean the ends of the thread and burn them so they won’t ever come loose. To make sure it lasts a long time and fits the functionality, I’ll actually put an iPad in there to make sure none of the seams are popping.” Get the second M+P edition tomorrow! You won’t want to miss it.
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Six of Christine Marcelino’s Favorite (No-Nonsense!) Things

Christine Marcelino, the product-design brain behind the leather-goods line Materials + Process, is a no-frills kind of gal. She likes things that work hard—and do so quietly. Here, she shows off a half dozen products that speak to her and her function-focused POV. —carlye wiselOlivier Mourgue’s Montreal Chair and Table: ”I really like the form of it more than anything, especially the way the leather wraps around the couch. It feels voluminous, but it’s still clean and modern.”Textiles and accessories from Scholten & Baijings: ”You know, I love color, but I don’t like when it’s overpowering. I love the way they use graphics and prints—it’s modern, but it’s kind of comforting at the same time.”Muji flashlight: ”It’s just a simple, clean form. You can use it as a flashlight, but you can also set it on another mode where the entire thing glows—so it becomes a lamp you could put on your desk or your table. It’s still a flashlight, but it has multiple uses.”Alite utensils: ”I designed this product for Alite Designs. What I wanted to do was merge the design aesthetic that silverware usually has—where it has the feeling of longevity—with the high-functionality of camping utensils. I looked at how people use utensils and how they pack all their camping stuff and then created a sufficiently compact system where the functionality is embedded in the form of the material.”   Triangle brush ruler: ”When I design stuff, I actually draw it out first. I still use a ruler, a pencil, and an eraser. This is the ruler I wish I had because it feels so clean and modern…and über-functional and natural at the same time.”Casio film watch: ”This is a Japanese film watch that they’ve discontinued since the nineties, when it used to be really popular. It’s really thin, and you can change out the bands. But what I love about it is that it’s analog and digital at the same time. I can’t live without this watch—I’ve had it for ten years now.” Speaking of no-nonsense, wait til you see Christine’s amazing edition, coming tomorrow! It’s a real (leather) beauty.
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