our featured artist for june happens to be a personal favorite of mine: heyoka leather. long before we worked with photographer alexandra velenti on our july catalog, i was following her work on tumblr, and through her work i discovered heyoka leather (she has shot their lookbooks).
heyoka leather started unofficially and quite by accident in venice beach CA by leslie crow when she began making dream catchers for friends. word spread and demand grew, and she branched out into accessories like hand-beaded medicine bags and purses, using traditional skills learned from her grandmother. leslie teamed up with her longtime friends rachel avraham and angela bruyere to create heyoka leather. using carefully sourced leather and the finest quality brass, silver and bone, heyoka’s accessories are modern-day american heirlooms that pay homage to the designers’ roots in traditional native american ceremony, hollywood nightlife mystique and outlaw biker culture.
always and forever 100% handmade, their mission statement is to leave no footprints behind their moccasins.
read on for an interview with the beautiful leslie crow and to see some of her personal photos and inspiration!
where did you draw inspiration for the particular pieces we are carrying?
the spotted eagle and the turquoise warrior necklaces were greatly influenced by my growing up going to powwows. watching the dancers, i always felt like the regalia and the spiritual energy acquired by donning it and entering the circle gave the dancer a feeling of graceful strength and beauty which i humbly attempt to translate, or alchemize into an everyday modern american talisman while paying respect to the traditional native roots.
i love the lookbooks you shoot with alexandra valenti, and we just worked with her on our july catalog shoot, how did that relationship come about?
i met alexandra and the sisters of the black moon through my boyfriend caleb. he’s from texas and kept telling me i was going to love his girlfriends from austin, and then i saw alexandra’s photography and i was blown away, so we started talking and planning a heyoka photoshoot. we met in LA and the rest is history! that was about a year ago. we’ve been dear friends ever since and work together every chance we get.
“redneck desert chic”. i pretty much live in a vintage harley tank, wrangler cut-offs and cowboy boots, heyoka bag and mountains of turquoise jewelry. however when i dress up i love to go all 60’s bohemian gypsy and experiment with far out thrift store finds.
who are your style icons?
rita coolidge, anita pallenburg, and my good friend and longtime heyoka muse, joy bryant.
what do you like to do when you’re not working?
i love riding horses and motorcycles, hiking and camping…..goin’ out into the desert and shooting guns, traveling, going on roadtrips, practicing yoga, prowling through thrift stores and swap meets. lately i been trying to teach myself the banjo and learning how to silversmith. but i really love to work. i’m always coming up with new designs and inspirations and being creative is my biggest passion.
favorite city or place?
right now i’m living in tucson, arizona, and really loving the sonoran desert, but my all time favorite places to go are mexico, costa rica, northern ontario and anywhere back home in the blue ridge mountains.
what music are you listening to right now?
charlie daniels band, bill monroe, marshall tucker band, waylon jennings, the deserters and of course my boyfriend caleb coy and his band headdress.
hell’s angels by hunter s thompson, moonchild by alestair crowley, vintage easyrider magazines and louis l’amour westerns. i’m currently reading desert solitare by edward abbey.
when are you happiest?
i’m happiest when spending time with family and friends….having a backyard BBQ, sitting around the bonfire, listening to caleb play guitar and chillin’ with my dog, bluegrass.
what’s next for heyoka leather? anything you can tell us about what you’re currently working on?
there’s a lot of creative visions taking shape right now for heyoka leather. we’re currently working on some very exciting top secret collaborations with bandit brand and sisters of the black moon. we just recently finished our online store which should be up and running any day now and we have some really cool new designs in the works for our fall collection!