Friday, 23 January 2009

Introducing... Jarren Borghero of te.

te. is a label started by Jarren Borghero and Toshimitsu Ota. Using leather as their primary medium, the te. range includes bags, wallets, belts and other accessories, all of which are painstakingly handstitched using waxed linen thread. Meaning 'hand' in Japanese, the te. design philosophy places an emphasis on traditional techniques and the handmade and was created out of "our love for the original and dislike of the mass produced, along with our focus on traditional techniques ensures that the product is pre loved. the brand therefore cannot grow out of control where its aura becomes greater than itself."

To start of 2009, our first interview of the month is with Jarren who is one half of the design team behind te. Despite starting his artistic training in photography, it was after a trip to Japan that inspired Jarren to start te.

Without further ado, read away!

About te…
In Japan there is a real love for leather. I started noticing it everywhere and becoming a real connoisseur of it. Inspecting it with and internal dialogue discussing how it could be different or better.

A challenge was set, I guess. I started with just 2 tools and drawing on what my dad had taught me as a kid I started making wallets and bags at every chance I could. I became totally addicted to it. I was truly at peace with myself when creating with leather. Usually when making things I can't wait to finish and rush to get to the end. The emphasis being the result rather than the process. But it is not like that with leather. I love every facet of leather work and have a great sense of contentment during the whole process.

In Japan I went through a massive change in the way I think too. I went to there to escape for a while, to gather my thoughts and really make some decisions about what I wanted to do. My previous work as an artist was all about questioning consumption and planned obsolescence. Tokyo gave me the bigger picture about consumption. I discovered that it was impossible to escape it and that the world does indeed have to revolve around it, at least for the time being. I started thinking that what I produced had to be ethical and sustainable. Ethical and ecological design means no seasonal ranges and actually connecting with the things we make through craft. This was the concept for te.

A design that is close to my heart….
One that makes me swoon every time I make it is te. gooni. I feel like out of all of my designs this is the one that makes me believe in my abilities as a designer, a pattern maker, and a leathersmith. It is the culmination of all of my experiences, training, education, likes and dislikes all in one little bag. I feel that it is somewhat unique as a product out there, both in the way it is made and its aesthetics. Plus every time I make it, it makes me gush like as though it's a new puppy.

The material I use is…
Primarily leather. Leather comes many forms but I mostly use full grain leathers to be precise. This means the surface has not been corrected with paints and other finishes. Full grain leathers will show all the natural marks on the skin like fat lines, scars, and spots. I believe that it is part of the leather and should be utilised as beauty and not something to hide. I stitch with waxed linen threads, which matches perfectly with the natural leathers.

When I’m not in my studio I’m…
Not in my studio?!? Those moments have been few and far between lately, but I usually head to a park somewhere and get horizontal under a tree.

The last exhibition I saw…
I can't remember. I don't really venture into galleries anymore.

If I could buy anything in the world I would buy…

A mud brick house out in the forest somewhere.

One thing I can’t live without…
I worry that one day I will hurt my hands. Without them I wouldn't be able to make things.

te. gooni design

te. wallet

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