EpicLeather -E): My name is Nathan Rodriguez. Together with my wife Samantha we run Epic Leather, a small shop on etsy that sells original and custom leather goods. We are self-taught artists who love all sorts of art and mediums. Primarily I make Leather masks, however recently I have begun crafting Armor and various other items such as belts, collars and accessories. Since we are big into fantasy and the SCA, I try to craft most of my items with materials that were used during time periods before the industrial revolution: Rivets, Leather, Bone, Dye, String and Buckles. This way my products feel more authentic to individuals who wish to participate in historical events and still be true to the time period, but as the same time have a fantasy and less traditional feel to them. Our shop is still primarily an online endeavor as we are relatively new store, however soon we plan on traveling and vending at SCA events such as Gulf Wars and various cons and fairs where you can view items made by both my wife and I. Should you see us feel free to stop by and say hello.
N): What is creativity for you?
E): Creativity for me is expression. Expression of your emotions, imagination, desires, dreams, fears, hopes and personality. Since I still have a day job that robs me of a good portion of my time, Epic Leather has been an outlet for me to express my creativity in a unique and unorthodox manner. Taking materials from once living creatures and turning them into art, it’s a morbidly awesome hobby.
N): What is handmade?
E): Items that are handmade I think are some of the finest crafted items. In today’s society where everything is mass produced by cheap labor and materials, it is refreshing to see handmade items making a comeback. When something is crafted by hand, no two items will be identical, and in turn will be the only version of it in existence. Even if the same item is reproduced, each will have characteristics and patterns unique to itself. I consider all my works art, even if it is not in the traditional since I am still taking blank, lifeless items and giving them form. Artists are creators and leather is my medium from which I create.
N): From what and how does your project?
E): Most of all my items are crafted from materials that would have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years in one form or another. That has always been something I have tried to keep constant in my work. History fascinates me and in some way I feel like I am participating by using materials that our ancestors would have. Aside from that, I love giving my own twist on the subject matter. Science Fiction, Fantasy and Anime/Manga has played a huge part in influencing my style and so Epic Leather is a way of combing my love of all my favorite genres into one art form.