An Interview with Leatherworker, Kolby Brianne
The Unbound creative team's favorite thing about a new toy launch (besides the new toy itself, of course) is preparing for the photoshoot. It's the way we introduce the product to the world and we spend an incredible amount of time brainstorming concepts, designing the set and curating a cute-but-versatile wardrobe to style models on shoot day. So when we decided on our "Dreamy Western" concept, we knew that Clutch needed a kinky holster to live in, and Kolby Brianne was the absolute best person to make this happen. What's a cowbabe without their righthand toy, anyway? We caught up with Kolby to learn more about her work and what inspires her.
How do you describe your work?
I think the best way to describe my work is simple, sexy and bold. I try my best not to overthink designing or what leather “has to be” when I’m coming up with something. I like leather pieces that do well for everyday life and play. My leather comes from my perspective as a Femme Leatherdyke and as a switch, so I like to represent those groups in what I’m making. I think some people would consider my work to be “fashion accessories,” (friends of my parents definitely do) but I like to think of it as leather fetish wear that also works outside of bedroom or dungeon.
What has your journey as an artist/creator looked like?
Considering myself an “artist” is still kind of bizarre to me! I don’t know why that title feels so intense, but art has been around me my entire life. My parents were musicians and my late mother was a really great artist. She was always painting or crocheting or making something, so I always had that bug in me. Being creative is kind of a family trait.
As a kid, I would carry a disposable camera with me almost everywhere I would have to interact with lots of people. I loved taking pictures of people as a way to get to know them, and having a little machine between me and everyone else helped me feel safe. So I just kept taking photos. As I got older, editing portraits for hours is how I would get to know people in my life—the small details that make up their face. Some years ago, I was missing a more hands-on type of creative work and had purchased a huge box of leather scraps from my friend Matthias of Rand Leather. It took me a year and a divorce before I even got into it; but once I made my first leather collar… I was hooked. It’s still about the small details, I think.
Leatherwork is teaching me more and more about the preparation stage as an artist and it’s given me more confidence in this little brain of mine.
What are you into right now? (art, books, music, movies, etc)
I’m in a repeat phase with media right now. As we all know there’s a lot going on in the world, both on micro and macro scales, and all that chaos makes anything new a little impossible for me (hey, autism!). So I’ve been rewatching things over and over and listening to music that reminds me of being a teenager in the South.
What does your creative process look like when starting on a new piece?
My creative process actually starts with the hardware, surprisingly. I love the way the different metal shapes of buckles, loops, o-rings, d-rings, etc can really set something apart. I’ve designed pieces with lots of heavy hardware so that it can be physically grounding, sometimes hardware is added for utility, and sometimes it’s added simply because I think it’s hot.
Over the years I have been able to hone patterns and formulas for each type of hardware I currently use so when I want to put something together, the math has already been done for me. As a self-identified Bimbo Business Owner this lets me use all my brain power on how I want straps to connect together, or where I want them to sit and less on how much of this or that I need to cut to make it happen.
And even with all the math pre-done, my process for designing is still messy as hell. Having leather all over the place isn’t the worst problem for a leather fetishist to have, and maybe one day I’ll be more tidy… but probably not.
What's something people might not know about your work?
That I am technically still a beginner—intermediate at best! Don’t get me wrong, I know that my work is good and worth selling and I’m very proud of what I make. However, as many cool things as I’m able to do with leather now, there is still an incredible amount of techniques and skills left for me to learn!
I think some people may still be surprised that I do this all on my own while still having a full-time job.
How do you want people wearing your piece to feel?
When people wear my leather, I want them to feel sexy, confident and comfortable. For me, leather makes me feel sexy and the weight of it centers and grounds me. I hope it also does that for other people. And, I mean, who doesn’t feel cool with leather on?!
Kolby Brianne is a Black, non-binary Femme Leatherdyke and Leatherworker currently residing in Connecticut. Their leatherwork brand Kolby Brianne Leather focuses on simple, unique, sexy pieces for everyday life and play that anybody of any size can feel good in. She began her kink and leatherworking journeys around the same time and loves to bring her perspective as a Femme and as a switch to the design process. They look forward to using their manicured hands to make leather for many hotties for many years to come.
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