The purses are handmade in Rochester, NY. by husband and wife team Mark Titus Diebolt and Sharon Hammill Diebolt. The Diebolt’s are always amazed at the inherent beauty of wood. They are especially fascinated in working with veneers, first because many of the most figured and exotic woods are available only in this form, but also because of the unique technical and design challenges presented to them when working with these fragile layers.
The Diebolt’s approach to each new design is much like a painter’s approach to an empty palette, starting with an initial idea and then adding more and more details as the piece evolves. Sometimes the nature of the figure in the veneer dictates the design path they will take.
The process begins with the careful choosing of highly figured wood veneers to best fit the individual purse style or design. The 5-6 layers of veneer are glued together and placed in a vacuum press to create the bent lamination shells of the purse. From there the shells are married with the hardwood top frame material, the “hidden hinges and hardware” are applied, the purse is sanded to 600 grit, and finished with 4-5 coats of a hand rubbed oil/varnish/wax combination.
The colorful clasps are turned on a metal lathe and, along with the other colorful elements, are polished to a glossy sheen. Once these steps are complete, the purse is ready for its final assembly. Leather gussets and straps are cut and attached, the clasps and strap holders are applied, and the purse is signed by the designer/artists Mark T. Diebolt and Sharon H. Diebolt.