MADE SOLID BY HAND

Los Angeles Times - - SATUR­DAY - By Jes­sica Ritz home@la­times.com

Made Solid’s Art Deco build­ing on Foun­tain Av­enue in East Hol­ly­wood bal­ances both vin­tage and con­tem­po­rary. Be­neath the re­stored wood bow­string truss ceil­ing and ex­posed brick walls, ev­ery­thing un­der the Made Solid brand is “100% by hand, right here,” co­founder Pe­ter Maxwell says of his stu­dio and shop.

Pe­ter and his wife, Mia, founded the busi­ness in An­gelino Heights in 2014, then opened the new space last sum­mer. The Ore­gon na­tive, who has Los An­ge­les roots, worked in so­cial ser­vices and as a DJ be­fore get­ting into leather craft­ing. (He reg­u­larly up­dates the Made Solid web­site with his lat­est playlists and sells vin­tage vinyl in the store.)

Mia be­came in­volved in the vin­tage-goods hunt­ing and re­sale world in L.A. when she moved here from Ja­pan two decades ago. It’s been years since she’s been a ven­dor at the Rose Bowl flea mar­ket, but “I still go to look around and get in­spired,” she said.

The Maxwells be­gan craft­ing leather goods to­gether with an Amer­i­can her­itage an­gle — they use Her­mann Oak veg­etable-tanned leather sides from the St. Louis-based tan­nery — but also with their sig­na­ture stream­lined, min­i­mal­ist style.

Pe­ter care­fully adorns the wal­lets, trays, belts, eye­glass cases and other goods with vin­tage stamps and hand-painted brush­work to con­sciously leave neg­a­tive space on his can­vases.

Mia’s spe­cialty is crafted bead­work us­ing vin­tage ma­te­ri­als, such as an­tique African trade beads and bone but­tons.

Ex­cept for its e-com­merce and so­cial me­dia fo­cus, Made Solid is a low-tech op­er­a­tion. The Maxwells have ex­panded the com­pany’s ros­ter to in­clude wo­ven leather stools on bases made by metal and wood­work­ers in Baja, and leather­wrapped vases in var­i­ous neu­tral shades.

We’re “al­ways de­vel­op­ing and re­fin­ing,” Pe­ter said. Cus­tomer feed­back some­times re­sults in new prod­ucts, such as Made Solid’s sand-filled leather in­cense burn­ers. (The com­pany also sells Baieido in­cense, tra­di­tion­ally used in Ja­panese shrines.)

Made Solid’s brand col­lab­o­ra­tions in­clude Con­nolly Eng­land and Nord­strom, and its items are avail­able in L.A. re­tail lo­ca­tions such as Gen­eral Store in Venice, Jenni Kayne and Hauser & Wirth gallery gift shop, as well as in stores abroad.

For their own bou­tique, the Maxwells se­lect other prod­ucts they love.

For in­stance, they’ve sourced hand­wo­ven bam­boo totes, Hasami porce­lain ce­ram­ics and iron­work from north­ern Ja­pan dur­ing their trav­els.

“Ev­ery­thing has a story,” said Pe­ter.

Point­ing to leather trays splat­tered with Ja­panese in­digo dyes, some pieces in par­tic­u­lar dis­play the Maxwells’ shared his­to­ries.

“Our work re­flects who we are,” he said.

Pho­to­graphs by Christina House For The Times

“EV­ERY­THING has a story,” says Pe­ter Maxwell of the pieces at Made Solid, the stu­dio and shop he opened with wife Mia. The cou­ple cre­ate their leather goods by hand with a min­i­mal­ist style.

EYE­GLASS cases come in var­i­ous col­ors, in­clud­ing an in­digo dye cre­ation.

A WO­VEN bam­boo tote from Ja­pan sits next to a leather-wrapped vase.

OTHER items at the shop in­clude leather trays and plates from Ja­pan.

CUS­TOMER feed­back re­sulted in a sand-filled leather in­cense burner.

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