I love a reliable pen pal.
My first was a friend named Molly. At fourteen she introduced me to Jeffrey Eugenides, Charles Bukowski, and Allen Ginsberg through her weekly recommended reading lists. Our public high school eventually proved itself too stifling for Molly and her more precocious sensibilities — she quickly transferred to an alternative arts academy. I remained, sans classroom confidante. My pleas to depart along with her were met with much resistance in the form of my parents, who claimed the place as no better than private school purgatory.
I stopped writing Molly not long after her departure. Last I heard, she is now an accomplished weaver whose boyfriend plays in a psychedelic noise band called Moonstone. To me, that is success, so I considered my mental glad-tidings as good enough, and left our correspondence at that.
I no longer possess a reliable pen-pal, yet am impressed by those who do. That being said, please allow me to be very, very impressed by Constance Sepulveda and Marisa Keris — two creative soul mates who met, moved apart, never lost touch, and turned their own internal world of creativity into a beautiful line of handmade bags and accessories.
“Scout by Two became our way of being pen pals and continuing our friendship. We started creating this world and this aesthetic we wanted to translate to others even though we didn’t know what the medium was going to be at the time”
Bookended between the sartorial dictations of urban Brooklyn and rural Alabama, where each now reside, their line of accessories launched last year is built upon tenants of practicality and ease of use. The result is something equally at home in both the Shoals and the streets of Greenpoint.
Connie hones the craft and construction of their pieces. Three-dimensional problem solving comes easily to her after studying furniture design. Marisa lends her eye to the details of style and color. After studying painting, they are the aspects she excels in refining.
“We want to use everything we design.We like to be fashionable but we are practical,” said Marisa, who responded equally democratically when asked to provide names of other such brands upholding tenants of rugged minimalism and sturdy construction for women.
“There’s so many.”
Sculptural Chiyome — begun by the very talented Anna Lynette Moss — was cited. Also mentioned –Alice Saunders of Forestbound and the story of Barbara Shaum, a bespoke shoemaker who has been humbly honing her craft for over sixty years in the Lower East Side.
“Women are breaking into this world — leatherwork –that has previously been seen as a men’s craft,” said Connie. Her advice to other young women?
“Just start. Don’t just think about it and talk about it. We only got started once we said, ‘Okay, now we actually have to start making stuff.‘
Marisa chimed in on the other line. “As artists, we’re so introspective. There’s lots of thinking and planning and second-guessing ourselves. What most people don’t have is a lot of extra time and money — but you have to start somewhere.”
video below via the fantastic
‘Made in the Shoals’