These leather skull bags, handcrafted by Chinese designer Xun Wang, are completely blowing my mind. Here, she takes us through then painstaking process of creating the pattern, then cutting out puzzle pieces and sewing them together to build these incredible, 3-D skull handbags. They are a little bit Alexander McQueen-ish and 100 percent amazing!
I’m a handbag designer. I LOVE bags. From the time I was a little a girl I was captivated by them – day bags, evening bags, satchels, totes – all of them captivating. Nothing completes an outfit like a handbag. The handbag you carry speaks volumes.
My bags always start with a tiny kernel of an idea, and then a spark. Once that idea formulates, I find my sketch pad and begin. Because I work in leather, I have to think through the angles, how the hides will take shape and what finishes I’ll need. My Skull bags are my current favorites!
After the sketches I create the pattern; it’s like creating puzzle pieces. The pieces allow me to see the parts individually. Working with leather is an old tradition so I use modern techniques to help me focus on the decorative effect of the leather.
I take my pattern, the puzzle pieces, and trace them onto my chosen medium, leather. I then cut them out, and place them roughly how’ll they’ll be sewn together.
Then I begin sewing.
The leather requires much more work than fabric does. Tooling, bending, shaping and hammering.
I mold the leather and have to stitch the more intricate pieces by hand. After the molding is complete, the leather has to dry for 24 hours. The final steps of the hand-finishing process: curling, leather treatment, adding studs, cone reaming, and the hand-stitching. This is my labor of love.
Nearly finished, the Skull Bag takes shape and life. I like to pause here and look at my paper pattern, my tools, my material. All the steps in my process…
You can see the other skin colors I want to make this bag in in the back: metallic gold, brown and hot pink. Cheeky and unique! Each color and each bag will require the same steps. My craft involves me, my ideas, and my tools. Each piece is handmade and, due to its intricacies, cannot not be machine produced.