Freak of the Week - Liz Olney

A true living treasure of Berkshire County, I cannot remember how we first met, but I know it was waaayyy back.  And, I know, we have had a whole lot of high jinx since!  Like the time we drove to show in NYC in a driving blizzard in a beat up old rental van with no heat or defrost. I, wearing completely ridiculous shoes and thin socks, she, in her wooly socks and winter boots!  We pulled-over and worked on our product in the thick of it, laughed the whole time and lived to tell about it!

Liz lives in a little loft in the heart of Housatonic, MA where she makes the most magical leatherwork.  Not leatherwork like belts and sandals, Liz’s work is more like Tiffany with a dab of Hundertwasser, and sprinkle of Hogs N Heifers mixed in.  Her level of craft is unmatched – a true alchemist.  Wearing her sparkly bracelets allows the wearer to scatter rainbows throughout their days.  Owning one of her wallets has brought me years of organized satisfaction – knowing I have supported a friend, fellow maker, and the earth – as her quality is long (maybe lifetime) lasting.  In addition to being a masterful maker Liz freely shares her wealth of knowledge of industry secrets – like where to get the best cutting and sewing tools, what kinds of adhesives work best for what material, and who to call when advice is needed to make an old machine work for a new application.  Simply put, her ingenuity reaches into many realms.  She is a people person with a love for her trade, the planet, and world peace that is tangible upon initial contact.

Here is a clip from her Etsy Shop:

Liz Olney started her career as a leather craftsman when she first arrived in New York thirty years ago from England, making leather clothing for rock stars and movie personalities. This led to a career in the handbag industry designing for various well-known companies such as Carlos Falchi, Sharif and Donald J. Pliner.

After achieving great success in the fashion world, she decided to start her own line of products that reflect her personality.

Combining her sense of whimsy and meticulous detailing, she launched her own collection of handcrafted leather jewelry, bolo ties, chokers, belts, hair ties, pins, pouches, bags and more.

Liz is happy to be creating a line of functional and practical state of the art leatherware that appeals to women and men, young and old alike, and hopes that her work will bring joy and appreciation for the fine craftsmanship she so lovingly delivers.

The Berkshires are very lucky indeed, that Liz is in our midst.  You can meet her, selling her delightful wares, at a trunk show at Andrew Stuart – a new gallery located right next to the South Egremont Fire Station – opposite Kenver’s on May 18th from 4 to 8 and Saturday May 19th from 12 to 5.  If you are not a local person, click here to see her work – she has an Etsy shop, and facebooking with Liz is always entertaining.