A colorfully illustrated round of the season in the garden of the best-selling novelist, memoirist, and champion putterer with a wheelbarrow
On the perimeter of Israel’s Jezreel Valley, with the Carmel mountains rising up in the west, Meir Shalev has a beloved garden, “neither neatly organized nor well kept,” as he cheerfully explains. Often covered in mud and scrapes, Shalev cultivates both nomadic plants and “house dwellers,” using his own quirky techniques. He extolls the virtues of the lemon tree, rescues a precious variety of purple snapdragon from the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv highway, and does battle with a saboteur mole rat. He even gives us his superior private recipe for curing olives.
Informed by Shalev’s literary sensibility, his sometime riotous humor, and his deep curiosity about the land, My Wild Garden abounds with appreciation for the joy of living, quite literally, on Earth. Our borrowed time on any particular patch of it is enhanced, the author reminds us, by our honest, respectful dealings with all manner of beings who inhabit it with us.
All of our leather goods are handmade by The Local Branch out of our Upstate NY homestead workshop, which is just 7 miles from our brick + mortar shop in the charming Finger Lakes village of Skaneateles NY.
We started our leather working journey as transplants to Northern CA from Upstate NY in our early twenties. It was 2009, and hunting for a creative job seemed near impossible during the recession - so we started our own thing, and called it The Local Branch. With very little resources at first, we dabbled in leather working using scrap pieces of hides and a found-on-the-side-of-the-road sewing machine. The very first piece Blaine created was a leather holster, made for his phone and wallet. From there our leather working journey began.
At the same time we began printing apparel with a focus on nature, travel and American history. We stretched our own screens, painting each design by hand and lovingly printed every piece ourselves - a process which is very true to form today. We source all of our blank apparel items in the USA, which has always been our beacon for our brand.
We eventually decided to take this hobby brand into our full time venture. We renovated an Airstream trailer and turned it into our mobile workshop, touring America full time for over two years. We sold our goods at festivals, craft shows and online, as well as wholesale to many shops throughout the USA, Canada and Japan. After landing some of our goods in a few major retailers, we decided to slow down and keep the ethos and vision for the brand to small, local and handcrafted.
Still today Blaine and Mackenzie steer the ship - keeping everything small + handcrafted.
Handcrafted Leather Goods
Shop our assortment of leather goods, made by us in our Upstate NY workshop
Each design is handpainted and printed by us on USA made apparel