Artist Spotlight | Agnes Ysselstein of VSSEL Design

Local designer Agnes Ysselstein of VSSEL Design will join us for an exclusive pop-up showcasing her handmade leather goods on Saturday August 25, 12-4pm. We asked her a few questions about her design process:

How did you get started making leather goods?

Ever since I was a little girl, I've always been working on some crafty project. But until a few years ago, I'd never worked with leather. It was hard at first, but I started making myself leather wallets . . . my sister at the time was getting married so I decided to make her bridesmaids gifts. I bought some shiny gold leather and made them little wallets. They loved it! Their excitement got me started. 

What inspires you as a designer? How do these inspirations present themselves in your work?

My inspiration comes from my needs/wants that I have as a busy working mom of two boys. My goal when creating a bag is that it is simple, clean and versatile. I guess my motivation is whatever I need at the moment. . .I needed a crossbody bag for a weekend in San Francisco. . . this gets me going with ideas.

How and where are they made? What are your favorite materials to work with?

For the last 7 years I've been making my garage studio my own space to make my bags. After my day job and my boys have gone to bed, I love going to there to decompress and escape. I sew each bag here. I enjoy working with all types of fabrics and materials but I'm having fun with leather.

As an artist living in Santa Cruz County, does the natural beauty of our area inform your designs? If so, how? 

I live up in the Santa Cruz mountains, in Bonny Doon. I love it here. When I come home, the beautiful redwoods, my garden, the warm sun, and fresh air relax me. I head to my studio where I feel I can be creative and make beautiful things. 

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Megan Alldis