Artist Profile: Patti Dowse

For Patti Dowse, founder of Erda Leather, happiness can be found in a piece of American deerskin or recycled fabric. And for the past 40 years, this exuberance has come through in every one of her funky, distinctive handbags.
Originally a science illustrator, Dowse bought her first piece of leather during a lunch break while working in New York City. Inspired to make herself a handbag, the self-taught artist was immediately hooked. “When another woman asked me to make one for her, I couldn’t wait to get started,” she remembers. She opened Erda Leather in 1971.

Artist Profile: Raquel Stanek

Just under 10 feet high and crafted from tens of thousands of hand-cut glass pieces, Raquel Stanek’s captivating giraffe is but one of her intricately designed and assembled mosaic works. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Stanek loves talking about her imaginative animal art, which ranges from this towering commissioned sculpture to a larger-than-life zebra bust, a 7-foot-long pig and a menagerie of chickens, ducks, geese, deer and other critters with expressive personalities.