Behind the Scenes : Martinez C.

It is a joy to discover creative individuals who still take the time to savor the beautiful materials and meticulous processes of craft-based design. Eduard Martinez is one such artisan.

Martinez in workshop

His refined approach to high quality leatherwork stands apart from the ubiquitous sea of fast fashion and mass-market trends. After honing his skills at the school of art in Santo Domingo, Colombia, he founded Martinez C. Workshop to produce luxury leather pieces with traditional Colombian techniques. Martinez invited DARA Artisans behind the scenes at his Bogota-based studio for an exclusive look at the steps involved in producing his amazing leather handwork.

Martinez begins cutting down a large piece of leather to create the silhouette for his signature tote bag. Using newly developed tools from his own atelier, he translates the traditional skills of fine saddle-making and leatherwork into contemporary fashion accessories. Martinez strives to perpetuate Colombia’s historic living craft culture across every aspect of his business. He maintains a completely domestic supply chain with raw materials sourced solely from local vendors, including leather from Colombia’s finest tannery.

Martinez cutting

Martinez dyes the borders of the leather before sanding them down to create a perfect finished edge.

Martinez also silkscreens the interior of each bag with intricate prints of native Colombian plants that he draws by hand. This trademark attention to detail is what defines Martinez as a true artisan. He goes above and beyond in every stage of the design process to ensure a distinctive final product.

martinez silkscreen

After the silkscreened prints finish drying, he assembles the different components of the tote. He aligns the zippered interior pocket and each of the handles, making sure everything is centered according to a set of exact measurements.

He gently hammers the edges of the interior pocket in preparation for stitching it to the bag.

Before he can start sewing, Martinez marks and cuts individual holes in the leather. Martinez uses an overstitch wheel to mark and space out each hole. Then, he takes a sharp awl tool to puncture the holes one by one.

After making the holes, Martinez begins sewing the bag together. He hand-stitches each bag himself.

2-up martinez final 1

For his final step, Martinez assembles the tote’s toggle closure. He makes two circular cutouts and inserts a small piece of leather to create an adjustable loop. He attaches a brass toggle on the other side of the bag. The closure is easily secured by tightening the loop around the toggle.

2-up martinez journal final 2

The brass hardware and delicate hand-stitching perfectly complement the tote’s rich color and accommodating proportions


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Written by DARA Artisans.Apr 16, 2015
Our Mission

DARA Artisans promotes cultural curiosity and a sense of discovery by offering a sophisticated edit of handmade artisan crafts to an audience seeking authentic, responsibly sourced designs with a modern aesthetic.