Leather crafter stitches things up during Artique’s First Friday opening | ParkRecord.com

Leather crafter stitches things up during Artique’s First Friday opening

Aleshia Cornelius joined the co-op in November

First Friday Artist Opening with Aleshia Cornelius

Leather crafter Aleshia Cornelius showcases one of her hand-crafted purses that will be on display and for sale during February’s First Friday Artist Opening on Feb. 3 at Artique.
Courtesy of Aleshia Cornelius

Artique, the artist co-op boutique in Kamas, will get a little rustic when it introduces the hand-crafted bags and journals created by Aleshia Cornelius during its Friday Friday Artist Opening celebration on Feb. 3.

Cornelius, owner of the Humble Canyon, a leatherwork shop, is looking forward to her debut at the free event, which runs from 6-9 p.m.

“It should be fun, and my parents are coming into town for it,” she said. “I love going to these types of things, because it’s a community event. I think community is very important in our world today.”
Cornelius plans to showcase at least seven purses, two journals and leather pencil cups.

“I have a ton of pens at my house, and we just end up making these to put them in,” she said with a laugh. “Then I’ll have medicine pouches, which is a small pouch you put something in that you want to keep close to your heart and wear around your neck.”

One of the bags in the show was made by Cornelius’s husband, Noah.

“He knew had to sew, and I  taught him how to work with leather,” she said.

Cornelius began working with leather after she moved to Utah from North Carolina a few years ago.

“I was a guide for a wilderness therapy program, and in this program, participants had to make their own bags out of leather to carry their belongings,” she said. “I’ve always known how to sew and learned how to knit when I was in middle school, so, I learned how to work with leather for the program.”

Cornelius’s first leather item was a purse, and she started making journals shortly thereafter.

“I started making journals because I felt they were more popular than bags,” she said. “But personally, I like making bags the best.”

Leather crafter Aleshia Cornelius creates hand-sewn journals in addition to purses and bags. Her creations will be shown Feb. 3 during the First Friday Artist Opening at Artique
Courtesy of Aleshia Cornelius

Cornelius, who gets her leather from the Tandy Leather company in Salt Lake City, said the biggest challenge of her craft is making sure her measurements and stitchings are accurate.

“Sometimes I’ll finish a whole stitch and then I’ll have to redo the whole thing because something didn’t match up,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll miss a hole, and not notice until I’m done.”

Cornelius likes working with leather, because she knows the pieces she makes will last a long time.

“It’s not like something you buy that will break down within a year,” she said. “I’d rather have a bag that lasts 10 years or a lifetime, depending on how much you use it.”

Cornelius first met Artique owner Katie Stellplug at the 2019 Harvest Market at the Sundance Resort.

“Katie was a vendor, and I liked her work,” Cornelius said. “She told me about the store in Kamas.”
Stellplug remembers meeting Cornelius.

“I had gravitated to her work, because I liked the robustness and simpleness of it,” Stellpflug said. “Since she doesn’t use a machine, all of her works are hand stitched, and they aren’t your typical leather pieces. They are a little more abstract, and that’s kind of my style.”

Stellpflug told Cornelius about Artique, and Cornelius, who was living in Salt Lake City at the time, looked up the shop.

A few months ago, Cornelius and her husband bought a house in Kamas and got reacquainted with Stellpflug, who asked her to join the Artique family in November.

“Aleshia came into the (Summit County) Library where I was working, and she recognized me,” Stellpflug said.

The First Friday Artist Opening is the perfect place to introduce Cornelius to Kamas’s creative community, according to Stellpflug.

“It’s the opening of a new month and an introduction to a different artist,” she said. “It seems crazy to think we’ve been doing these shows for 12 years.” 

Each artist works at the shop, and Stellpflug enjoys showcasing them during these exhibits.

“It’s nice to bring all the artists together to meet the community in a social gathering in Kamas,” she said. “The Park City Gallery Association does that in Park City with their end-of-the-month gallery stroll, so this is like our gallery stroll, even though we don’t do a lot of strolling. People look forward to it.”

Artique currently represents nearly 20 artists, and Stellpflug has plans to expand the co-op’s reach this year.

“I think it will be nice to mix in new and outside artists, who are on my list,” she said. “I want to start adding some fresh things in 2023, whether we feature a local food maker or something like that.”

Leather crafter Aleshia Cornelius hand-makes medicine bags that will be part of her First Friday Artist Opening exhibit on Feb. 3 at Artique.
Courtesy of Aleshia Cornelius

Cornelius is looking forward to interacting with the other Artique artists throughout the years.

“I like to see what other people make, and want to learn from them,” she said.

The public can find more of Cornelius’ work on Facebook at facebook.com/TheHumbleCanyon and on Instagram @_the_humble_canyon_

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