November 27, 2017
Meet the Debut Artist for MC Cheer December 8-10, 2017! Founded by Jessica Nepton-Chayer, a University of Alberta graduate in Industrial Design, Copper Cherry’s handcrafted goods are inspired by the prairies. With the goal of “fitting the prairie lifestyle into your everyday life,” she has developed a unique aesthetic inspired by the beauty of the outdoors. Her simple yet classy and rugged designs are a callback to discovering nature and adventure in your daily life.
How did you get started in making backpacks?
In the summer of 2016, I was asked to turn an old WWII canvas duffle/sac into a backpack. I ended up liking the final result, so I made myself one from scratch. I called it Bishop and I’ve been making him for over a year now. I kept making them because, I’ve always had cheap backpacks that only lasted maximum 1 year and when I finally got myself my dream leather bag – the straps were all wrong and I ended up hurting my back. Backpacks are what I have been carrying around for my entire life. I thought, why is it so hard to make a comfortable, long lasting, and timeless backpack? Well, turns out I’m not too bad at it!
Why is nature such an important inspiration for your work and aesthetic?
Nature helps balance us and also give us a sense of adventure. I wanted my bags to have an old school look to embody adventure. I grew up hunting and fishing with my dad. Going to a cozy cabin and walking trails or sleeping with a fishing rod in hand in the middle of a lake. I wanted to have bags that fit in those memories and bring sentiments of nostalgia.
What other inspirations do you have?
I have always loved architecture and cities. They work so well with my ideas of nature. I love strolling around in the city as much as in the woods.
Tell us a little bit about your process.
I’m always building something in my mind. I can spend days thinking about a product. I’d sketch it quickly and continue thinking of how I’d make it. Once I have it all worked out, I draw up the patterns and plans and start paper prototyping for size. Finally, I make it in scrap material and write instructions as I go. I modify things as I go but this is the gist of my process.
You describe your company as a “multifaceted concept brand.” What are the different facets you have explored and how do they interact with one another?
I describe my work as multifaceted as I would like this brand to focus on more than the backpacks, but also other objects designed within the brand. It seems natural to start this journey with the bags. In the future I wish to push towards larger projects, such as a furniture line, while still working with the similar aesthetics, as well as focusing on ideas of simple living and interior design. I like working around the quote from William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Copper Cherry will grow as I grow, trying to embrace my work as much as possible.
How would you like Copper Cherry to grow in the future?
In addition to the multifaceted aspect I am trying to bring to my work, I also really like pushing the handmade in Canada. I feel that it is important to allow companies from here to be able to grow in our country.
How can people find out more about Copper Cherry?
Come say hello to Jess at MC Cheer 2017 from Dec 8-10!