If you’ve ever made, or built, or repaired something, you’ll know the importance of having the right tools to get the job done. So imagine their value to the craftsperson that spends much of their day making and creating things. The right tool can be priceless. We asked our makers to tell us about their favorite tool for a series we’re calling “Tools of the Trade”. Here is the second installment of their responses.
Jan Hammock of Millie Lottie is fond of her branding iron. “I love branding my totes—it signifies they are ready to leave me and go out into the world and begin carrying and sharing food. I remember the first set of totes I branded: I practiced so many times prior to setting the iron on each finished tote. It was like going on stage, I got a rush and a flutter in my heart. When I first felt the iron making its way in to the leather, leaving its mark, I was hooked. Seeing the name on the products is the final step in production and it’s as if my mother Mildred and Aunt Lottie have given their final approval. My family made jokes they were all ready for their ‘Millie | Lottie’ tattoo.”
Moriah Okun of MOkun digs her sewing machine. “I use a heavy-duty singer sewing machine to form my baskets. I use this machine because it is strong enough to sew through thick rope at a reasonably fast pace. I modify my machine in order to be able to make smaller forms that fit under the arm. There are certain limitations in this process, such as the sizes and shapes I am able to create and the materials I can stitch through, but I am always pushing the boundaries, and working within these restrictions makes my experimentation that much more interesting.”
Molly McGrath of Molly M Designs has a pair of favorites. “Here are Larry and Lola, our trusty laser cutters. Our entire business is built around them. I bought Larry ten years ago, and although he is getting a little old, he can still power through our paper cuts with precision and ease. Lola is our more fiery laser cutter at 60W – she is mostly used for our leather products.”
Kate Joseph of Clouds & Ladders has the hots for her soldering torch, “which I use to melt the solder that creates a bond between metal pieces. I knew I would need to learn to use it to take my work to the next level, but I was scared to try. I watched YouTube videos for hours before trying it. Now it is an indispensable part of my process.”
Image at top of page: Molly M Designs’ “Larry” laser cutter.
Read the first installment of this series here.