Betsy Pozzanghera

The Spokane fabric artist creates one-of-a-kind purses from leather. And because 90 to 100 percent of the material she uses for each creation is repurposed, the finished product is truly, incontrovertibly, genuinely unique.

“If I make a statement with my art, it’s RECYCLING,” Pozzanghera says, explaining that she sources thrift shops and online sites for old leather jackets, boots, horse tack, belts, buckles, and more.

“There are so many of those items, and if I can rescue them from the landfill, I will.”

Some of the most emotionally meaningful purses she has sewn incorporate treasured items from a family member into the design; for example, Dad’s old cowboy boots became a bag for first mom, and then two daughters.

The very materials at her disposal – the jacket, or boots, or reins – determine the finished bag, Pozzanghera says.

“Each jacket, or boot, or whatever, is unique and tells me its story. I get my inspiration from them one at a time.” More than once, she has cut a part from a jacket only to decide that it is not right for the bag she is just then making. She has some jackets that have been in her closet for years, still awaiting the right inspiration to transform into the perfect bag.