C.L. Whiting and her Leaf Leather
C.L. Whiting's Leaf Leather is sought out by museums, worn by celebrities, carried in the world's finest galleries, and collected by men and women throughout the globe.
New York and Italy gave birth to the talent behind the Master Leathercrafter known worldwide as C.L. Whiting
People familiar with the art of leather tooling say what C.L Whiting does with leather "is impossible to do!" It becomes understandable when you know the lady and discover she is a perfectionist in all forms of artwork, from watercolor to oils and pastels, and that she worked on developing the tools and techniques used to create Leaf Leather for more than two decades before showing it to the world.
Leaf Leather's story began more than 25 years ago in upstate New York, where C.L. (a nickname meaning Cute Lady given her by her musician husband) developed a love for nature and a passion for detail. While working part time at a small leather shop and studying art at a New York university the opportunity arose for her to become an apprentice under an Italian engraver who was retiring and hoped to pass along his technique for making finely detailed tools to someone who would appreciate it.
After years of study, C.L. began to create her own process. By combining the drawing skills she learned in school with those specialized engraving skills gained through her apprenticeship and devoting countless hours to her passion for detail, C.L. discovered the ability to produce tools in the shape of leaves with uncanny microscopic detail (see closeups).
She withdrew from the university and spent more years on her craft, over time developing more than 5,000 tools in myriad intricate leaf patterns using nature as her model. Only then did C.L. realize the uniqueness of her new art form, and only then did the products you find in shops around the world begin to be produced. Just like a fine wine, only with time and the utmost quality and personal attention, are the handbags and accessories designed by C.L. Whiting released for sale -- each piece a work of art, each tooled like an artist painting a picture, and no two ever alike.
The leathers used for C.L. Whiting's Leaf Leather are the finest available; they must meet the artist's stringent requirements. They're chosen not only for appearance and softness, but for longevity. Leaf Leather gets better with age. All hand production of her designs -- 100 percent of which is done in America by her team of carefully trained assistants -- must also meet C.L.'s scrutiny. Each piece is a master work.