B18 leather was born from the desire to experiment with leather and a pre-owned leather sewing machine. Its creator Deborette Clarke is a fun loving creative who has many years experience as an educator, designer and maker. Having worked with leather whilst studying at college and really admiring the versatility of the material, it was a natural choice of material to work with.
Why B18? Based in the heart of the West Midlands and to the east of the centre of Birmingham, I wanted a name that although is a local postcode would lend itself well nationally and internationally. It evokes a journey, destination and place. The Jewellery Quarter is one of Birmingham’s gems for a variety of reasons, for me the attraction were the buildings and history of the jewellery trade.
Shapes are simple and colour is key
Some pieces are hand painted using a variety of methods. The skin or hide is treated as a blank ‘canvas’ for the experimentation. The leather that I work with is chosen for its textural qualities as well as its colour. I use both mineral and vegetable tanned leather from reputable leather merchants based in the UK. The majority of the leather I use is sourced from Italy.
For me traceability is paramount – each piece I produce has a visual narrative. You will see its journey from raw cut pieces through to the finished article. Most of the designs are made in house in the Jewellery Quarter with some pieces made in Walsall, West Midlands – the heart of the leather industry in the UK. I have built relationships with manufacturers that I treasure – just like a precious gem.