Jimmi wZ Bags are custom designed, one of a kind creations utilizing the finest leathers available from around the world. Each individual piece is hand cut, hand punched, and hand stitched as well as the particular care given to every string of lace and antler, bone or stone that is used for these original works of art. Choice Italian leather, buffalo, elk, and deer, as well as alligator, and steer hide are carefully chosen for their color, texture and softness with special attention to durability.
Our bags are in their third decade of evolution. Having begun on the banks of the Tennessee River along the ancient Indian trail of The Natchez Trace from the lessons of a magical medicine man passed down during long nights around the open campfire. Equipped with a small handful of primitive tools and a trunk full of leather, Jimmi wZ was able to create his works almost anywhere with much time spent in the deep wilderness. On these serene mountain tops or lone desert settings his work took on the feeling of the environment and reflected the intentions of the artist, which was to be close to nature and to respect the land and animals by utilizing all parts with reverence to the ancient ways. Finding his own style, Jimmi wZ caught the attention and has worked with top designers of Los Angeles, New York and Paris for more than 30 years. Working out of his original studio on Florida’s Emerald Coast and his second studio in the spiritual hamlet of Ojai California with a small group of trusted artisans, Jimmi wZ continues to develop and reinvent the art of leather working.
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We at Jimmi Wz bags take great pride in our work and how it came to be and we would like to share some of our philosophy of how we create in alignment with those who live closely with nature.
Our leather creations had their beginnings deep in the forest of rural Tennessee, far from electricity and modern distractions. I had been accepted as an apprentice to a magical man that was an amazing artisan and craftsman among many other things. During this apprenticeship there were many long nights around the fire with stories and demonstrations of skills of how to live off the land. All the while leaving hardly a footprint as a trace of our presence. We cooked native plants to supplement our rice and beans. We carved bones into musical instruments and played along with the frogs, crickets and coyotes. We made boxes with wooden hinges held together only by pegs. We sang songs and gave thanks to those before us and made wooden puppets for children in the future. All this using the most basic primitive tools; a knife, stump and mallet. We lived very close to the land, sleeping on the ground, fetching our drinking water from the spring, cooking over a fire and bathing in the stream. We lived as indigenous people all over the world had for thousands of years.
During this time my reverence for the ways of indigenous peoples grew and my respect for their kinship to nature grew as well. At one point, another apprentice arrived with a truck load of tough leather and threw it around the campfire. Soon the three of us were busy folding, cutting, punching holes and beating the leather into shape. We followed the masters lead and soon we had medicine bags, tool bags, hats, moccasins, vest and blankets. Anything that we could imagine we would make it out of leather. We adorned them with dear bones and wooden beads, we burned designs and patterns into the leather. We beat and pounded, and dragged the leather through rocks and rivers to soften it. We wrung it with our hands and stretched it into the shapes that we imagined. Mysteriously it took shape and form from our intent.
We continue to use the same basic premise of creation for the leather works you see today. Though the bags we make today are much more intricate and refined than those made by the fire, they are essentially the same bags. From our devotion to the ways of people that came before us, we have based the entire foundation of how we create dedicated to the simplicity and complexity of nature. We hope this sheds light on our work to further reveal a depth that goes back to the beginning of humankind.