Elke Nied grew up in the Black Forest Region of Germany. From a very young age Elke could often be found drawing everything and anything found in her microcosm. She became fond of Mother Nature and outdoor sports such as cross country skiing, kayaking and downhill mountain biking. Later in Frankfurt, She studied Graphic Arts. Eventually working for some of Germany’s most prestigious Graphic Design Agencies, where she earned quite a reputation.
Elke was initially lured to Canada after reading books on dog sled racing. When Elke first came to Canada in 2008 she volunteered for Frank Turner and his team in Whitehorse. After this experience, she fell in love with the West Coast; eventually, settling on a farm in beautiful Paradise Valley between Whistler and Squamish. During this time she became a biodynamic farmer and learned and practiced all about sustainable living. It was not long before her creative side came’a knocking. It was here that she discovered her passion for the leather arts. Her new found craft soon consumed her evenings. During the days she could often be found photographing nature on hikes deep in the Squamish Valley. Drawing on inspiration from her hikes she would incorporate this into her leather art.
Her excitement about bringing living forms into her art on wearable pieces such as bracelets, belts or guitar straps (further wallets and utility bags) is ongoing.
She truly is … into the woods ...
In her own words:
“I feel a deep connection to nature and a love for the rich green forests and the wild ocean. I channel my impressions of these environments into my burnings and paintings. Every step of my work is an intense process. I begin with premium vegetable-tanned cowhide. After cutting and shaping I begin burning my designs freehand into the leather. This technique, known as Pyrography, utilizes a stylus with a heated tip, and allows for great clarity and detail. When my illustrations are complete, the dyeing process begins. Using eco-friendly and water based products, I treat my leather pieces individually to many layers of dye, oil, and wax, to produce a finish of warmth, depth, and durability as well. No two pieces are alike.
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.