By Alfonso Arnold

Every month, Boulevard sends photographer and chief Alfonso Arnold to scan our wonderful city to find true and passionate artists to interview, snap, and feature. This month Alfonso visits the studio of Lincoln Heller, founder and designer of the handbag and accessory collection, FIVELEFT Leather.

Boulevard: Welcome Lincoln to the Spotlight! Can you tell us a little bit of your background and history about you and your leather bags?

Lincoln: Passion for bags comes from a fascination with containers that carry the most personal items of our everyday. These vessels become our most functional and prominent accessory, and I love exploring the way we interact with them. My love for working with rigid leather comes from when I worked in an Alaskan logging camp. In the evenings I would stitch tool pouches from discarded boot leather. Here I learned to pinch and fold structural leather to bring form to my bags.

Boulevard: Are you able to describe the process of how they are created to be environmentally conscious, and why it is so important that you design and manufacture them this way?

Lincoln: The responsibility I feel I have to my community and the world has played a major role in navigating my life. So as this business progressed I made decisions that would have lasting positive impact. The vegetable tanned leather I use comes from a single reputable source, and the processes we employ, has been developed by this personal mission.

Boulevard: I know you are involved in quite a few events and boutiques that show and carry your collections. Can you fill us in on where we people can get first hand on seeing them.

Lincoln: Fiveleft has had many different ways to find homes, and lately we have been focusing on where we have been most successful. Face to face and on our website seems to be where we make the most (and best) friends. So over the next few months you can find us in person at FIRST PICK HANDMADE at the Heritage Hall in Vancouver September 15-16, and in our studio for the Eastside Culture Crawl November 15-18. If you are far and away you can shop our website, and never be afraid to make an appointment to come by ask about workshops and custom orders.

Boulevard: And finally…can you give us a hint on what is coming up on this amazing journey of yours?

Lincoln: The future of Fiveleft is evolving in a new direction. I mentioned earlier I have always found the most success bringing leather goods directly to my clients, even if that means online. I think it is the interaction and building of real community that has been so satisfying. So I am moving away from trying to chase a production oriented model. In the new year we will be introducing some new materials, and collaborations with other gifted people is already in the works for next spring. Arriving at this level of mastery and getting older is proving to be a place where I can branch out and meet challenges that were unattainable before, and slowing down to look closely at the details is bringing new excitement to the practice I have already developed.

Boulevard: Thank you so much Lincoln for taking the time to snap and chat. It was a pleasure and inspiration to visit your studio!

Visit FIVELEFT Leather online: www.fiveleft.caInstagram: fiveleftleather · Facebook Page: @fiveleftleather