Welcome to my first Spotlight on a Creative! I am so thrilled to be launching this new series!
I will be introducing and showcasing one wonderfully creative, artistic soul each week for you to discover, be inspired by, share and learn more about.
Please meet my premier Creative – Jacob Fisher, of the amazing design team at .retool a terrific line of “simple, elegant and functional” vegan bags, cases and wallets. Jacob graciously answered my questions and provided some great photos for you!
Jacob – one half of the design team at .retool.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
“I’m Jacob, one half of the .retool. team. We design and make vegan accessories – wallets, bags, cases, and more! We place an emphasis on function and style and we love using repurposed materials and factory remnants. Our goal is to make it easy for vegans (and non-vegans) to find quality accessories with the features they need and the colors they want.”
Jacob starts with these . . .
and finishes with these Messenger Bags
“In my spare time I draw, paint, and make collages out of tiny pieces of magazine pages. Here’s a photo of my most recent piece, based on a drawing by Paul Cadmus. This collage is made up of literally thousands of pieces.”
Jacob Fisher Collage
2. How has your Art changed over time?
“Well, for one thing, my skills have improved. There are things I can make now that I wouldn’t have been able to make four or five years ago. As an artist, I have always loved working in series and my work with .retool. has certainly followed that trend.”
“We started off making wallets and we have now expanded into bags, cases, and even belts. We work primarily with seatbelt webbing and the more we work with it, the more different ideas we have about about how to use it.”
“In the beginning, we had one billfold wallet design and one card holder design. We’ve been tweaking the designs ever since and adding a bunch of variations with different features and carrying capacities. For example, we now have six different credit card wallet styles and seven different billfold styles with various features including ID wallets, coin pocket wallets, and grommet holes for adding a chain.”
3. What inspires you?
“Our customers actually provide a great deal of inspiration. We get a lot of custom requests and on more than one occasion we’ve turned a custom request into a standard .retool. offering. The latest example of that is our minimalist credit card holder with center cash slot. We added the center slot for folks who wanted a separate compartment dedicated to cash.”
4. What’s your strongest memory of childhood?
“I read a lot as a kid and one of my favorite books was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I think I must have gotten it for Christmas because I have a vivid memory of reading the book while sipping hot chocolate and eating candy canes. For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to dip the candy cane into the hot chocolate. This led to sticky, chocolatey fingers as evidenced by this photo:”
5. What was the first thing you ever made?
“That’s a tough one. I remember taking burned out lightbulbs and adding clay to them to make hair and faces. I didn’t break any bulbs, but it probably wasn’t the safest thing…”
6. What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
“Before starting .retool., I worked primarily in technical training and instructional design.”
7. What is your dream project?
“I have so many dream projects!
One of my current favorites is to start a cult brand of awesome vegan bags. The idea would be to have a very small production run of high-end bags with pockets in all the right places.”
8. What is the one thing in your studio you could not live without?
9. Do you collect anything?
“Sewing machines! So far the .retool. fleet includes 2 Kenmores (each over 20 years old), a beautiful vintage Husqvarna Viking, a newer Husqvarna, an industrial zigzag machine, and the pride of the fleet, an industrial straight stitch Adler sewing machine. The next addition will likely be a serger.”
10. What is your favorite word and why?
“I love words. I like how they sound and even how they look. Staphylococcus is pretty high on the list, mostly because of how the ‘dictionary lady’ says it:”
11. What is your favorite recipe?
“My favorite recipe is for homemade cranberry sauce. I love fresh ginger and I’m not a big fan of sweets, so my version is spicy and extra tart. The flavors get stronger overnight. [Note: the maple syrup and ginger can be adjusted to taste.]”
4 Cups fresh cranberries
1/3 Cup maple syrup
1/2 Cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger (most people might find this an excessive amount of ginger, feel free to use less… or more!)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Wash and drain the cranberries. Toss everything together in a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat. Stir often. It’s finished when the cranberries have popped and the sauce is thick, usually around 10 – 15 minutes.
12. Do you “Give Back” to any organizations?
“I support a number of non-profits mostly focussed on social justice and environmental issues.”
Jacob Fisher – .retool.
Thank you Jacob for being here!
If you want to see more fabulous items from .retool. please check out the following: