This weekend’s giveaway is from Made by Alejandro, maker of handmade leather swords and accessories. We bought Silas his first leather sword for his sixth birthday and are so happy with it. I get emails from time to time asking how well made these are, and if they really hold up. Yes! Silas’ has been very well loved (by all my children) and it appears that it will last for many years to come. I feel very good about sharing this small business with all of you!
Alejandro Ortega is the artisan toy maker of Made by Alejandro. He and his wife’s pirate crew consists of five: one princess and four 1st mates. God has charted a course for them with many wild adventures and some hair raising moments. Life is never dull.
Right now their port o call is on the island of Long Lake, near the frigid country of Minnesota. A native of NY, Alejandro began working with leather in university. He stumbled upon a Commedia del Arte mask and it’s been an adventure in discovery ever since. Mask making was so much fun that Alejandro traveled to Italy to learn how the masters of the Italian Comedy originally made their masks. He returned to the U.S. with a better understanding of what leather could do and began exploring it’s many uses. For years, Alejandro has worked with leather and is always amazed at how gripping the look, feel, and smell of it is. He began by making small custom items such as personalized bookmarks and knife sheaths, and eventually grew to larger pieces such as an open topped box bag.
Every time Alejandro made something new, he was nudged further in an unexpected direction that changed him from thinking about leather as a hobby, into leather as a new art medium.
In 2010, after seeing How To Train Your Dragon in theaters, an idea sparked in his head. Why not make a sword out of leather so he and his kids could play? It would be safe and fun. It was a hit; the kids loved them! After the first week of ow’s and ouches, the shields were born. The shields were large enough where Alejandro could hand carve fun images into them to make them more appealing and so his children could differentiate between them. The day after, crawling into the bushes to find the kids’ swords resulted in him making the sword belts.
Soon, Alejandro found himself with a new title and career: Artisan Toymaker. He now sells reenactment toys and other beautiful items at art fairs, in a couple of art centers and stores, and online through Etsy.
Before Alejandro makes anything, it has to spark a child’s imagination (starting with his own). Also, it has to inspire children to want to play together. Everything he makes is by hand, and he likes it that way. This approach allows him to give each piece his personal attention and helps make the toys heirloom quality, children friendly, and Queen mother approved.
“It is not just a ‘toy’ but a tool that has instilled a spirit of honor, bravery and wonder.”
“These swords are tough, cool, unique, and safe. If you are on the fence due to price, they are worth it. Kids will get hours of play and imagination with these toys vs TV or video games.”
“Nothing short of amazing! 11yr old doing a research paper and presentation on Boudicca, the Celtic Warrior Queen. She didn’t take it of all day.”
“Good thing we bought an extra sword for dad – now there can be duels!”
“Alejandro’s work is impeccable, authentic, and extraordinarily detailed…”
“These are special. They remind me and hopefully the kids that despite the bickering of siblings and days when you wish you were an only child…that ultimately they are all on the same team.”
Ahoy Mateys! Beware! Alejandro is offering one winner this blue handled Pirate Cutlass for this year’s holiday giveaway. The cutlass is 30” from tip to tail, with a knuckle guard that will protect the hands of whomever wields it. A perfect sword for anyone ages 6 – adult
Alejandro is also offering 15% of your entire purchase with the coupon code ‘SmallThings2017’. This offer is good through the end of the day on Thursday, November 16th.
For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post. Comments are closed and the winner is Emily, who commented, “What a wonderful way to instill love of beauty and artisanship!”