Make a fashion accessory out of leather. This was the brief for the “Craft the Leather” competition that motivated Renee Verhoeven to create her series “The Anatomy of the Hand”. The gloves that make up this series use a number of different techniques — laser cutting, pleating, leather molding, sewing — to creatively reimagine how a glove can be flexible.
I’ve written before about my own fascination with glove construction before, and it seems Verhoeven shares that same fascination. “Part of it, I think, is that gloves have to be flexible in so many directions and aim for a perfect fit (like a second skin). And if they are well made, I think gloves can be beautiful.” Verhoeven says, explaining her own interest.
The material called for as part of the competition also played a role in the direction of this series. “My approach was to react to leather as a material, its capabilities and the perception of it as a fashion material. I simply took the construction of skin (leather) as an inspiration for this project.” says Verhoeven. The leather she used is thicker than the leather typically used in gloves, which forced some creative problem-solving when it came to construction. Of course, Verhoeven had a couple of self-imposed challenges as well:
For some of the designs I set myself the challenge to only use one seam for the whole glove. I enjoyed this simple approach, as it dictates the rest of the design. But trial and a lot of error comes with it. Also, when working with such experimental processes, every leather behaves differently. Which makes one technique suitable for one is impossible with the other. This is why making it was so important in this project. Things don’t always work out like you imagine, and sometimes they work out better.