Leather serves as the canvas for Sarah Lipscomb’s meditations.
As a hospice nurse and lactation consultant student, Lipscomb witnesses an incredible span of intense and emotional atmospheres at the beginnings and endings of human life. She is also a wife and mother of two.
She turns to the process of creating to balance her days with quiet, repetitive work inside her Chapel Hill home studio. She made her first leather bag about a year and a half ago.
“I feel like aesthetically what I am making now is me,” Lipscomb says. “I started and loved it and just kept going from then on. I think I wanted to make something that was functional but that I could still add something to. The leather becomes a canvas for me to try out different patterns and prints, so it just worked really well to use leather, and to use something that is so durable and ages so beautifully.”
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Lipscomb started her business slowly and informally, encouraged by people asking where they could buy her bags, and also by a supportive community of friends who are also craftsmen. “It really made me want to push myself,” she says.
The name for Lipscomb’s business came to her right away: Torsades de Pointes. It is a French medical term she learned in nursing school. It translates to “twisting around the points” and refers to a cardiac arrhythmia. Lipscomb thought the words were beautiful on paper and that the term described what she was doing aesthetically with the leather wallets, clutches and bags.
Her designs focus on “functionality, tactile gratification (the softest leathers) and pattern.” The bags are utilitarian and simple.
“Minimalism can be very cold,” she says. “So the ornamentation is what brings the warmth and sometimes humor into the fold, and is what I enjoy the most; it is what makes my pieces unique. The hand-painted prints are the joie de vivre,” she says.
The self-taught Lipscomb has learned her craft through trial-and-error.
“Just working with leather, I like that you only kind of have one chance,” she says. “Once you start sewing with leather, you’ve marked that leather, so I think you really have to commit to what you’re doing. I think that’s good for me to feel that commitment, that once I start, I’m going to finish it.”