Moxie and Oliver
by Caitlin McNamara
Handcrafted in Washington
Moxie and Oliver began in 2004 when artist Caitlin McNamara began her search for the perfect black belt. Working as a paralegal at a law firm at the time, she needed to adhere to the strict (and horribly outdated who wears nylons in Seattle?) dress code to avoid one more call into her supervisor’s office to discuss her attire. When her searches came up short, she reached back into her memories of leather tooling as a child, the summers spent in the Colorado Rockies, and took a trip to the leather store. She came home with an armload of belt straps, dyes, and paints, and got to work.
That initial belt was the Lucky belt in dark black, which was followed quickly by the Kitty belt. These first belts have been staples in Caitlin’s wardrobe since. Caitlin’s family, friends, and husband got belts that year for Christmas, and fortunately over the next year the Moxie and Oliver line expanded to include quite a few more pieces, so although their Christmas gifts the following year were also leather, they weren’t belts (again). Since Moxie and Oliver began, Caitlin has been continually coming up with new items, new patterns, and new ways to explore the many uses of leather. Her innovative uses include leather bowls, leather wall panels, and exciting variations on the boring handbags, wallets, portfolios, and other leather items that so often only come in black, brown, and tan.
All Moxie and Oliver pieces are made with a full-grain tooling leather and Caitlin’s signature process, combining traditional leatherworking materials and modern techniques to create a truly unique piece. Full-grain tooling leather is the strongest leather available, so it will hold up to generations of use and abuse (this was a particularly exciting discovery to Caitlin after burning through four synthetic messenger bags in two years the leather Moxie and Oliver one is now five years old and still going strong!).