Corrie Pocta Creates Classic Pieces by Hand

Julie McCullough

 Photography by Emily Stoker

The first time we laid eyes on the work of Corrie Pocta with RECUIR Leather, we were smitten. Then we found out that she designs, cuts, and sews everything by hand and we were truly impressed.  Her craftsmanship and attention to what some might say is old world details are impeccable and her classic shapes are timeless.  We were charmed from the start!

Q: How would you describe your own personal style?

A: I love very simple, well-made products. I usually will dress in neutral tones with a fun piece of jewelry here or there. I have a bit of a shoe addiction and love to spice up a simple outfit with a pair of clogs or fun sneakers.

 Q: What are your inspirations? Where do you find them?

 A: I find a lot of my inspiration through nature, fun patterns, and ceramics. I especially love looking at Japanese ceramics and printmaking wherever I can find them.

Q: How did you get started in Leather? What was the draw?

A: I started working at Oil and Cotton, a local art studio and workshop space in 2013. There were always indigo dying, weaving, and macramé workshops happening there. I went to school for fine art, but never had been introduced to the crafting world before. The sewing teacher, Jesse, started a sewing guild. I showed up to it and quickly realized the women there were very experienced. They had patterns prepped out and were making the coolest tanks and dresses. I looked around and saw there was some leather that had been donated and decided to try to make a clutch. Luckily for me, a leather designer for Fossil, ironically named Corrie as well, showed me how to make a pattern and punch my holes with what tools were around. I quickly became addicted and did a ton of research on what tools and supplies to invest in. It really has been a continuous process of trial and error and daily pushing myself to be better. I have found that when I invested in high quality leather and tools, I began to push my work to a higher quality as well.

Q: Where do you get your product ideas? Shape, Size, Colors, etc? There are so many styles out there, how do you decide what you will design next?

A: There is really a fine balance of looking for inspiration and seeing what you can come up with on your own with design. I follow a few leather workers on Instagram, but make it a rule to not look on Pinterest or too many hash tags for leather. I think about what I want and what I have always wanted to find in stores and go from there. I believe it is always best to make an original pattern and work out its kinks than to copy one that has already been made. As for shape and color, I made sure my first collection had variety in the sizes of products and am sticking with colors I think will age well and are timeless. I often will talk with my friends and see what their needs are, male and female, and then decide what to make next. If my friend Julie had it her way, a new cat designs collection would be next. Who knows, maybe it will.

Q: You do your craft the old way, all by hand, why?

A: I began sewing by hand and found the repetition in stitching and cutting patterns to be really therapeutic. Often times when I see friend's leather goods, the stitches are ripped up and fraying. I like that I am in control of each stitch and making sure things are sewn in a way that keeps them strong and in tact for as long as possible. I also love getting things that are made by hand. I love to imagine the artist making my goods and feel connected to that person in a tiny way when I have their work on me or in my house. I hope people feel just as special to think that each bit of work that goes into their bags was tended to with care.

Q: If money were no issue, what would you buy for your studio/craft right now? Tools, supplies, etc.?

A: If money were not issue, I would get a studio outside of my home. It is getting pretty crowded in there but thankfully I have a husband who let me move our kitchen table out on the porch in order to have a space at all.

Q: What objects have been most significant to you lately?

A: Some of the objects that have been significant to me would be a new toy I got my dog, June, which keeps her from eating my shoes, my new glasses from Glass Optical in Oak Cliff, and my new mug from Martina Thornhill.

 Q: What are you serious about?

 A: Maintaining solid friendships and being honest.

 Q: What things will you never take seriously?

 A: Men in flip-flops.

Q: What are some of your favorite clothing lines? 

A: I love Madewell, Everlane, Ace and Jig, and Hackwith Design House.

Q: What’s the one wardrobe or beauty essential you cannot live without?

A: My leather sandals from Office London.

Q: Do you have any rules when it comes to being a consumer?

A: Quality over quantity. I would rather save up for a big purchase that continue going through poorly made items. When it comes to household goods, I have a weakness for ceramics.

Q: Who was your first style or design icon?

A: Definitely Olivia Palermo

Q: Where do you live and what do you love about it? 

A: I live in Oak Cliff, a small neighborhood in Dallas, TX. I am from a small town of about 1,000 people and I love the amazing community and small town feel I have found in Oak Cliff. This past year I was a Spanish teacher at my school and love that I get to practice it everywhere here. If you are in the neighborhood you should check these places out: Davis Street Espresso, Zen Sushi's half off sushi night. El Si Hay, and Small Brewpub.

Q: Have you made any mistakes thus far and can you tell us about it and how you moved on from it?

A: Oh man. I am constantly making mistakes and that is a good thing. I think adults are too afraid to make mistakes at times because it makes us vulnerable and we feel as if we failed. Sometimes I punch holes where they don't belong, cut a pattern crooked, or sew a stitch that is a little off. As frustrating as those mistakes have been, they taught me to improvise and learn what I could make with what was salvageable. Mistakes also help me to not take things too seriously and learn to breathe and move on.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone that wants to start something they dream about? What was the jumping point for you?

A: Nobody is going to believe in you if you don't believe in yourself. Also when someone compliments your work, say, "Thank you." instead of pointing out where it might not be perfect. I am addicted to making leather goods and love to share it with others. Starting a small company with my designs was a natural step to begin to do that.


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