Meet the Artist: Leatherworker, Joseph Shishi @ Stitch Buffalo

Author: Stitch Buffalo

Joseph is Stitch Buffalo’s new neighbor. He found Stitch Buffalo when we made our move to Plymouth Avenue. He came to Stitch in search of a sewing machine to help him begin his new life in Buffalo as a leatherworker.

Joseph is originally from Congo, a country plagued by decades of conflict that has killed over 3 million people and displaced another 6.9 million. Joseph wanted to help create new work opportunities and beautiful products for his people, so he traveled to Italy to study as a leather designer. After his return to Congo, where he helped train local people in leather work and design, Joseph was injured in the ongoing violence. He managed to flee to Kenya where he healed and was then sent to Buffalo as a refugee.

In search of tools and work, he came Stitch Buffalo—where he found the very Juki machine he had used in Italy! He asked if he could show us his skills and make some products in leather to sell.

“As a neighbor and community member, I agreed for him to use our equipment,” says Stitch Buffalo Executive Director Dawne Hoeg. Stitch Buffalo also supplied recycled leather, donated by Spinneybeck, to help support his new beginning.

Above—Leather bags in a variety of sizes and styles are now available exclusively in the Stitch Buffalo store a 284 Plymouth Avenue in Buffalo. Each is handmade by Joseph using reclaimed leather, combined in a patchwork that makes each one unique.

Joseph has demonstrated his high level of design/pattern making and craft in the products he has created in the past two months at Stitch Buffalo. His designs are driven by function, and the aesthetic is guided by the size of the reclaimed leather pieces available to him. Joseph hopes to teach his skills and establish a training program in Buffalo. To help support his mission, Stitch Buffalo will be selling his limited-edition designs. After all, we are the city of good neighbors—helping each other one stitch at a time.

Leather Repairs Now Available:

Thanks to Joseph’s skills, Stitch Buffalo is now able to offer many repairs to leather accessories and garments. Stop by with any item you need to have repaired and receive a quote on the work.

Stitch Buffalo | 284 Plymouth Ave, Buffalo, NY 14213 (corner of Connecticut Street) | (716) 370-0079

The post Meet the Artist: Leatherworker, Joseph Shishi @ Stitch Buffalo appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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