Make Elegant Simplicity Your Signature with Talouha’s Handcrafted Leather Bags and Accessories
Christa Santa Maria loves the challenge of solving a creative problem. She was inspired to start handcrafting leather bags when she decided to replicate a leather tote bag that she really loved.
But Christa didn’t have an industrial sewing machine that could handle the leather she was using. So she started out designing everything in a very simple way with handsewn construction in mind.
That same philosophy has carried over into the way she makes leather bags for Buffalo, NY-based Talouha. Pretty, simple designs with small important details. Her handmade vegetable tanned leather bags, pouches, and accessories have a timeless style with clean lines and simple elegance.
“I love the process of designing and making something, and the challenge of figuring out how to make something look like the idea that I have,” she says. “I really like working on a craft, constantly trying to refine it and learning better ways to do something each time.”
Growing up, Christa loved sewing, and drawing, and beading. She loved rearranging her room and being amazed at how differently the space could feel. She remembers in third grade overhearing teachers talking about the “materials” in the fourth grade lab and being really excited for next year because she thought they were talking about fabric. Crafts were a big part of the culture in the 70’s and she remembers making huge numbers of boondoggle pieces and loomed potholders.
That enthusiasm for her craft is still strong today. Each piece Christa makes offers inspiration for the next. Even mistakes offer unexpected discoveries. “Sometimes I’ll make a mistake and figure out a work around to make it still work,” she says. “It winds up becoming something you wouldn’t think of; it thinks of itself. You understand the possibilities of what you can do by the mistakes that show up.”
For Christa, home is being surrounded by family, her dog and cats, plants, and things she’s collected over the years “that have memories or people or parts of my past attached to them. A place where I can relax, and feel grounded, and fall back into myself.”
Listening: Currently, Christa’s enjoying the audio book of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. “It’s actually read by him so it has his amazing energy in it. He was such a good storyteller. It has all these bizarre, eccentric characters and absurd situations and humor, and his passion for food and people, and his humanity.”
Buffalo: A Buffalo native, Christa has come and gone from the city over the years, but she has enjoyed seeing its rebirth over the last few years. “It feels like home here, which is something that no other place has. I have a niece and nephews here that I get to spend time with and watch grow up. And over the past five years or so Buffalo has become a really vibrant city, which is so exciting to see.” She especially enjoys walks in the quiet, park-like Forest Lawn cemetery with its waterfall and Sqajaquada creek.