<< Beyond the Stitch >>
A look behind 1974 leather goods... how it was started, the artist who makes them and other frequently asked questions.
Who designs & makes my 1974 leather goods?
Hi, I do! My name is Beth Dryden and I am the artist, designer and owner behind 1974. Thanks for stopping by and your interest in 1974 leather goods.
How did you get started in leather working?
10 years ago I happened upon some leather scraps while I was out buying other art supplies. I loved the raw edges, markings and textures. I took those scraps and just started making things. Even without the proper leather working tools, patterns or general knowledge. It was free form, organic. Off the cuff. Just letting my creativity flow… Nothing stopped me as I forged ahead. Over time, experience has led to more knowledge in the craft. Refining processes without relinquishing the original, rustic aesthetic. A journey of pure heart and discovery that never disappoints. I’m an artist and leather is my medium.
How are 1974 leather goods made?
I am inspired by the shapes, organic textures, brand markings, scars and other rustic bits on any veg tan hide I get. Those pieces will be used before the interior portions because they are where the beauty and the story lies. Up until recently, I never sketched ideas, I just let the leather tell me what to make. Now, I blend the two approaches. Each piece is distinctively designed, hand cut (no die cutting or cricuts here), hand punched, hand stitched and hand finished by my two hands. I’m in the process of battling a learning curve with an industrial sewing machine as I’ve hand stitched for 10 years, but even when they eventually are machine stitched, they will still be detailed and hand finished by me.
Can you custom make something for me?
Most likely! It really depends on what you’re looking for as many factors will fall into play. I also suggest to potential customers to really look at more overall style as I’m not a traditional leather worker, but an artist and my medium is leather. In this aspect, most of what I make is distinctively designed even if based off of another piece (new, vintage, etc). My own artistic spin will be infused in each piece I make. So, again, if you’re not a fan of my rustic/eclectic yet minimalistic style, I may not be the best fit for you. In that same vein, if you’re looking for something super clean, polished and perfect, I am not your gal. :)
Knife sheaths, gun holsters, photo or guitar straps, luggage, hand tooling and such is not something I’m into at this time. Most of these items are made by more traditional leather workers with industrial sewing machines. I have a few I can recommend if you need. I also am currently making everything by hand as I have yet to get the right sewing machine and also battle the learning curve there. I have hand stitched bags and wallets for 10 years and the quality, craftsmanship and detailing is beyond what most machines can do as it’s an authentically handmade item made right here in the USA.
Each custom made request will have its own individual quote based on materials, artistry/design, labor and time. As far as turnaround time goes, I ask for 10-30 business days to make an item based on whether I have the materials on hand or not or how much is involved and whether I would be making more than one item. I also require a 50% deposit and all custom made pieces are non refundable. I do put my heart, soul, time and attention into you the customer and your custom made piece so it’s not a quick process. If you need something sooner, it’s possible I can do it faster with a small additional fee, but please reach out to check with me on availability. Also, if you have a budget in mind, please let me know. Sometimes I can work within a budget and sometimes it could be cheaper for you to purchase a vintage or mass produced piece over having me design and make one for you.
If you are local to Savannah and would like to see/choose leather colors and take a look at pieces from my current collections to see the quality and style, please reach out so we can arrange a studio visit for you. I SO appreciate you thinking of me and I hope to work on your project soon!
Where are 1974 leather goods sold?
All products are currently sold online only via this website. As of now, my Savannah, GA studio is open by appointment only, but I am hoping to one day have a brick + mortar space so you can browse my goods in person. I always hear they are so much better in person than just looking at the photos online. Who knows, maybe I’ll do a kickstarter for this at some point. I will occasionally do a local festival or pop up shop, so please follow on social for updates or subscribe to the 1974 email list below.
Do you offer repair work?
Only on my products if they should need it. Out of ten years, I’ve only had to restitch one of my earlier made card holders. I try my best to make them super solid while infusing love and care in each piece and every detail. Should you need a piece tended to, please reach out via the contact form.
Do you sell leather scraps?
I occasionally do. It’s always best to watch my social pages for this type of event. If you are looking for donated scraps to use at your school, art camps and such, please reach out as I do this often as well.
Can I have you ship to another person as a gift?
Absolutely. Just list their info in the shipping section. There is also a section for order notes… so please also list there or send me an email and I will put extra love into it for you.
Can you take an old jacket of mine and make something of it?
I am no longer doing these types of projects because it never failed, every time I would pull leather away from the lining (be it a skirt or a jacket, etc) or even a couch frame, the leather was almost too thin to do much with. It’s a lengthy process to pull apart a piece and then reconfigure it into something new. It doesn’t really produce the desired effect you may be hoping for. On rare occasions, it does work out well. My best suggestion is to seek out your local maker community and ask if anyone is an upcycler and specializes in using old materials and giving them new functionality and life.
Will you donate a 1974 piece to a silent auction or fundraiser?
Please reach out with more information. I will consider all requests. :)
Are 1974 products available for wholesale or consignment?
I am not offering wholesale at this time, but I am open to consignment if it's the right fit. If you're interested in client gifting, I do offer volume discounts. Please inquire.