FOR A WOMAN who spent time making Shakespearean hats and knitting chain-mail armor for stage productions, Katie Stack has a rather minimal personal aesthetic. As she puts it, very straightforward. No prints, no patterns, not a tassel on anything.
But Katie’s college degree in pattern-making and costume design set her on the road to this point, where she has a full-time studio and shop in the Arts Walk at the Monroe Street Market in Northeast D.C. (Studio #3). That’s where she cuts and stitches (and presumably rivets) tote bags, cross- body bags, zippered pouches and other items out of leather and waxed canvas. Sometimes from one of those materials, sometimes both. And the waxed canvas is vegan: “A lot of times canvas is waxed with beeswax,” Katie explains. “Ours isn’t.”
(Fun fact: The company Katie buys her waxed canvas from has been producing it since 1838. Waxed canvas has historically been widely used for tents.)
And the colors? “My assistant calls it ‘a rainbow of neutrals.’ She’ll make fun of me. I’ll say, Oh, look at this [new leather sample in this] nice gray. And she’ll say, ‘Yeah, and it’s, uh, just like this gray we already have.’ ”
It’s not all neutrals. “I’ll be bringing some things [to the Makers’ Mart sponsored by the National Museum of Women in the Arts] in bright orange, some yellows,” she says. Stitch & Rivet sells to boutiques across the country and through the wholesale store on Etsy, the crafter’s showcase and online retail outlet. But she doesn’t put those items on her site or on Etsy because she doesn’t have a ton of stock in those colors.
Katie quit her costume-shop job and began her leathercrafting business full-time in 2012, “after my nine-year overnight success!” She opened her shop in early 2014. And she’s eager to meet the museum’s following this coming weekend.
Makers’ Mart is the first arts and craft fair sponsored by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The fair will be held in the museum’s Great Hall on Sunday, April 10, through Tuesday, April 12. Admission is $10 ($8 for seniors) and includes complete museum access.
The museum is at 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.; www.nmwa.org.