A passing comment triggered perennial crafter Karen Wehr’s imagination, and a nickname inspired Iodiebag (eye-OH-dee bag), the name for her handcrafted, fine leather handbags.
The process to turn a hide into a fashionable, functional and durable handbag is laborious. Karen completes each step by hand, beginning with carefully selecting high-quality leathers and fabrics for her unique designs. She pays particular attention to the imperfections in the leathers that add depth of color and personality to her bags.
The lodiebags, which range in size from baguette and shopper to saddle and tote, are stitched together by hand, with adjustable leather straps and oftentimes copper rivets.
Karen grew up on an Indiana farm, learning values and lessons she instills in her work.
“We were taught to be responsible, resilient and respectful of everything around us,” she says. “I believe it takes all this and more to produce a beautiful piece of art I am very proud of and that I can stand behind.”
The Iodiebag name is derived from Odie, the nickname her six uncles gave her mother, whose middle name was Ioda.
Karen learned to love working with her hands as she crocheted, sewed, quilted, painted, made candy, and dabbled in many fields. When she needed a new purse, someone suggested she make one.
“That lit a spark,” says Karen. “I went right away and purchased an old wool jacket at Goodwill, felted it and cut a pattern for my first handbag, and I was hooked. After all the compliments started flooding in, my handbag-making began.”
Quality, perfection and details are the cornerstones of her philosophy and hallmarks of her work. Browsers often become Iodiebag owners once they realize the quality of workmanship makes the bag durable and beautiful for years.
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