I was inspired by a product I bought on a trip abroad, and while experimenting on leather scraps and my standard sewing machine, I felt I finally found my passion. Since I felt an affinity to working with leather, I invested in an industrial machine that could handle about any leather and finding sources to support my growing leather & fabrication habit. My designs expanded as I learned more, and got inspiration from others asking me if I could make a certain thing, as well as what I see around me.
When I chose my shop name, I didn't want something that would imply only one genre, since I don't limit my work to any one area. The Bansai8 is taken from a merger of bonsai and one of my favorite films... and is a bit quirky like myself.
I added o:WILBUR line in 2016 to denote the "cleaner" and more urban products, and this name, and my first bag with the logo is an homage to my father, born in Wilbur, WA, who instilled my love of tools, being a DIYer, and to always be curious.
I also find the leather itself will decide what it wants to be used for, and sometimes a new design evolves to work for a specific leather. My understanding how different leather finishes or construction will impact a design--and I am continually learning and experimenting.
I'm an engineer by training and career, and always approach a project with an eye for how I can do it better, and ensuring an item functions and is durable, as well as fun. Unless something is custom order, I make an item because I like it!
I also enjoy costuming--but more as a twist on traditional garments, including making a Victorian riding jacket out of goatskin with grommet details. I have yet to venture into sales on this side, but always willing to work on custom...
And each year I increase the number of shows I vend at in the Seattle area--though since moving to Bremerton, you'll see me more at Tacoma events.