Tools & Talismans #4 — Erin Anacker

Each piece in this series has held it's own wonder and it’s own set of lessons about painting. This one was all about the leather. The beautiful leather satchel that Erin designed and made, and which I approached with a lot of hesitation. I sketched it on the paper and then spent hours staring at the photo, and trying to come up with the perfect combination of browns to re-create the look {and the feel} of all that leather. Total success? Hmmm, still not sure, but I’m totally happy with the way it turned out, in the end.

Handmade Leather Satchel: I designed this leather bag myself and sewed it using my 1933 Singer sewing machine, treadle peddle and all. It’s my third, sewn, leather piece, the other two are clutch purses. One I made for my best friend and the other for myself, which is always tucked inside this satchel. Carrying my daily items in this bag I made reminds me that I am capable, independent, and versatile.

Macbook Air: Since college, when I discovered the glory of Apple computers, I’ve always had a Macbook. My work is mostly digital, once it moves beyond the idea phase, and this laptop grants me access to the world. For me, it's both a tool for creation and a interface for connection.

Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pen, extra fine, black: These pens provide a smoothness and ease to writing which gives me a sense of possibility. I refuse to use any other pen for my work and stash these in various locations to ensure, I never have to!

3x5 Notecards, clipped: There are many times when I have ideas but am not able to act on them, or am still marinating them. My note cards store my quick thoughts, possibilities, and potential changes. On the back of them, I will write down a category. When I fill them up or am ready to work on one of the categories, I gather all that apply and read through them.

Moleskin Cashier Journal, ruled: I am incredibly particular about what thoughts go where and on what. I am obsessed with the texture and feel of the soft Moleskin journals. The ruled lines to keep me organized and keep my notes less messy. My notebook captures my Tall Thoughts, long form writing, and big plans fleshed out.

Leather Bracelet & Necklace: Every few months when I’m feeling an itch to be creative outside of work, I will pull out my leather working tools and scraps. I usually have something in mind. My favorite weekend projects are ones I can complete in a day. I love wearing simple accessories that I made. It’s subtle self-expression.

Pocket Knife: Since I was really young (5 years old or so), I’ve been enamored with and collecting knives. My grandpa collected knives over the years, of which I now have three. These knives fueled my curiosity of utility, craft, and design. This particular knife is both artifact and tool, gifted to me by my grandpa and used as much as the opportunity presents itself.

Erin Anacker, people enthusiast


Tools and Talismans is a personal painting project where I’m documenting {in watercolor} the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. — join me for a year of paintings.