Who's Behind the Scenes?

Meet Kelly Brown, an unlikely vessel for a unique expression. 

"What is God’s plan in our lives? We all search for that answer along the way, and it seems I have found my role–albeit later in my life–through art. But not through painting or sculpting or anything...normal?

It’s Leather, but not as you’ve seen it before. Tooled leather? No. Clothing and jewelry? Not quite. Painting on leather? Closer, but still no. Think completely outside the box. It’s cut and shaped, folded and layered, it’s formed and glued to be exactly what you wouldn’t expect it to be–and yet exactly what it needs to. An escape.

Have you ever just breathed in the smell of leather? A beautiful purse or a jacket, maybe new car seats. I’ve always loved that smell. It’s soothing and warm, like a childhood memory. I grew up riding our family’s horses around the many homes we bounced to and fro. As I grew older my love for leather stayed strong, more in thought than in action.

Then 20+ years ago, I was inspired to take some scrap leather hides and just start cutting them. I didn’t expect much when I started, but I continued anyway. And so I was cutting them. And then layering them. Then I glued them and was layering even more. Next thing I knew, it was there right in front of me. A horse.

And I loved it and knew that I had found that niche that I had so desperately searched for. A gift that had been given to me. But I also had a couple of other wonderful gifts that were rushing around to track meets and practices, along with a tiny one who wouldn’t stop asking questions–about everything. All this to say, I was sitting in the front seat of my kid’s taxi and the backseat of my life.

A decade later, rough times came, and I needed a place to hide. And who would’ve thought the very place to hide was hide. Leather hides become my getaway. I was finally acting on the concept that had given me joy years earlier. My art became my escape.

I know that sounds like a cliché, but there’s a reason that clichés exist–there’s truth behind them. Working on my leather art provided a way from me to come closer to God and to get acquainted with myself. I found peace in holding an Exacto-Knife in my hand and turning something practical into something beautiful.

I took a short time away from the creative process while I adjust to a new home, community, and life. But I’m back and re-established in who I am–happier, independent, and at peace.

That’s the story behind Hide & Scene. One thread–no. One scrap of leather, consistent from childhood until now."

-Kelly

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Kelly Brown | 2019