Fan: Jess Bloomer; New Orleans, Garden Teacher at Samuel J. Green Charter School
Maker: Ursa Eyer; New Orleans, Tchoup Industries Pack Sewer
Jess: Where did you grow up and when did you come to New Orleans?
Ursa: I grew up in New Orleans. I was born in Denver.
Jess: Oh, me too! Rose Hospital!
Ursa: I don’t know … (laughing). I left there when I was three to come here. I basically am from here and don’t really have any memories of Colorado. I grew up here and lived here my whole life. I went to Baltimore to college and then came back. I like it here a lot.
Jess: What other types of stuff do you make?
Ursa: I work as an artist and tonight I have a show in the Bywater. I paint and my favorite thing to do is to make prints and add watercolor and change it up in Photoshop a little bit. I like to make affordable art for people my age.
Jess: Do you have anyone who inspires you as a maker, creator or sewer?
Ursa: My roommate in college was a fashion designer and she was the first person who introduced me to fabric. Her name is Brandy Godsell, she works in New York now. She inspired me to start creating with fabric.
Jess: What is your favorite fabric or textile to work with?
Ursa: I’m actually really obsessed with the waxed canvas now. I was introduced to it here [at Tchoup Industries]. I had no idea what waxed canvas was, and now it’s my favorite thing to work with. It’s really really easy to work with…..it’s easy to fold and easy to handle.
Jess: I also love it, the way it works on the bag. It feels great and love that it’s water repellant.
Jess: What’s it like to sew with alligator leather?
Ursa: Luckily the sewing machine is hard core so it goes through it. But when we were first making prototypes I wasn’t using that sewing machine, it was the hardest thing in the world. I basically just broke needles.
Jess: How long does it take to make one backpack?
Ursa: It takes about 6 to 7 hours give or take.
Jess: Is that all in one day, or do you set it up in an assembly line?
Ursa: It kind of depends on the day, I’ve been doing the assembly line thing. But, just the other day I made one bag in one day, and that’s when I really realized exactly how much time it does take. It’s a long time!
Jess: What’s your favorite step in making the backpack? What’s the most fun part?
Ursa: I guess it’s the end – it’s all the little details at the end because it’s already finished so I finally get to step back and look at it. And then there’s just reinforcing the seams – that’s my favorite part – because it’s almost a finished product and I can feel accomplished.
Jess: Cool, well I really like them!
Ursa: Yea, I do too! (Laughing)