Beau & Ro Bag Company teamed up with jewelry designer Lisa Linhardt to create one of a kind handbags made of exotic skins from the archives of Minnie Patterson. In the late 40-early 50's Minnie and her husband ran a small leather boutique in Morristown, NJ that specialized in selling to the "sporting set,"purveying their products to Orvis, Abercrombie & Fitch and the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in Madison Square Garden.
Remnants of these exquisite skins have been sewn in NYC into a limited collection of unique handbags, with a percentage of proceeds benefiting the the Wildlife Conservation Society.
I asked Lisa some questions about her company, her inspiration, and the art of metalwork!
How long have you been making jewelry, how did you start? My love of jewelry started in 7th grade, when my older sister and I started to cut school and visit the shops along 8th Street in Greenwich Village. We discovered a store called Patricia Field’s which had cases filled with the largest and most interesting baubles that commanded my attention. In admiration, I tried to duplicate the look at home with various found objects, and can even be found sporting one of my “early” necklaces in our yearly class picture. Since then, I opened Linhardt Design in 2008 and have been making jewelry full-time ever since.
What should we know about Ethical Metalsmiths? Ethical Metalsmiths’ mission is to lead jewelers and consumers in becoming informed activists for responsible mining, sustainable economic development and verified, ethical sources of materials used in making jewelry. Ethical Metalsmiths carries out its mission by: working directly with jewelers, consumers and suppliers to provide the most reliable resources possible for the ethical production of jewelry. For more information, please visit ethicalmetalsmiths.org
What is your favorite exotic skin bag style? I love the contrast of the textured alligator skin against leather. What I love even more is that these exotics have been repurposed from scraps that were purchased during the leather rations of WWII, when manufacturers searched for skin alternatives.The story behind these bags is quite remarkable, and I love that they were produced locally with recycled metals.
What's the most interesting project you've ever worked on? As a bespoke jeweler, I work on so many interesting projects that make it difficult to choose. Custom projects that stand out immediately however, include commissions for gilded baby bellybuttons, jewelry that contains human teeth, and personalized "bling projects" for the boudoir (I’ll leave it at that…)
How do you find inspiration for your jewelry? With custom jewelry, I am often inspired by the person who will be wearing the piece. Outside of commissioned work, inspiration seems to find me… it is everywhere…
What inspired the zipper pull on these bags? The sculpted forms emulate the movement of a snake and the bite of an alligator - coiled, sensual and sharp.