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I first had these patches made back in 2015, and the world was different then. I've been hesitant to make another run, despite the warm response they've gotten over the years. I decided to go ahead with it and do my best to include some clarifying words to help an old design work in the current world.

Our collective grasp on reality has gotten...brittle. Maybe it always has been? The trajectory feels historically consistent, but I think it's fair to say that something has shifted or accelerated in recent years. The rhythm of life and discourse in the United States especially has become increasingly schizophrenic in nature, and there are more public narratives driven by paranoid conspiracy. Online cults have oozed their ideas into the mainstream, strongmen and fascists are riding a wave of global resurgence, and social media has hitched our outrage, fear, and alienation onto powering a dis/misinformation machine unlike anything in history. All of this has put the word "truth" into the mouths of every reactionary and huckster with an internet connection.

The quote is originally from Jiddu Krishnamurti, for whom I have some admiration but no loyalty. As a child he was abducted from India by the self-proclaimed clairvoyant (maniac) leader of a theosophic (cult) society who claimed that Krishnamurti was their messiah figure, that he would usher in a new era for humanity. In an incredible act of bravery, when Krishnamurti was given leadership of the group, he promptly announced its complete dissolution, stating:

"I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path. ... This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies."

To me there are some very clear messages in this, but here's nothing I can do to prevent someone from wearing this patch to declare something that I disagree with, so I want to clarify what it means to me and what it doesn't.

It doesn't mean that the political party you like has everything right and the other one eats babies. It doesn't mean that the "globalists" are turning the frogs gay, or that there's 5G in the vaccine, or that migrants stole the good life from you. It definitely doesn't mean that your truth determines everyone else's reality. As ridiculous as ideas like this are, they seem to be flourishing in the current atmosphere, and I think it's dangerous to cede the language of truth to people who think this way.

I made the patch to honor the courage I see in Krishnamurti when he destroys the power that he possesses.

Against authority.

Against coercion.

Against certainty.

That's what the patch and (I believe) the quote are meant to impart.

So, if you wear it, please wear it with that in mind.

I recently got the chance to work with a leather I've been dreaming of for probably a decade or more. Since early days I've been hoping to find a leather that combines the features of the two big favorites: Natural Chromexcel and Shell Cordovan. Turns out Horween occasionally makes a leather that does exactly that:

These are horse butts which include the dense subcutaneous layer that's used to make shell cordovan, but it also still has the top grain layer, which is shaved off when they make shell. It's finished in the chromexcel tannage, with just oils and no pigment, so all of the hide's features show through. It really is a dream leather for me personally.

Let's talk about shell cordovan. Shell is a "luxury" leather. Part of that is marketing hype, but part of it is based on real qualities that the material possesses: it's dense, uniform, flexible, durable. Shell is a treat to work with, it's consistent and it cuts beautifully. The supply is limited (though not quite as limited as we're sometimes led to believe). Since it's subcutaneous, it doesn't have a grain surface like conventional leather, and that's why it's typically given a high-gloss glazed finish*.

I don't personally love the glazed finish**, I like a little more grit on my leather, so this stuff checks almost all of the boxes. Almost because I wish the thickness was more uniform (but that's my problem and not yours) and I wish the availability was better.

It took me years to discover it in the vast & mercurial Horween lineup, and even more years to actually get my hands on it. Since it shares the same limited and high-demand source material as Horween's iconic shell cordovan, that means it will rarely get made, and when it does, the cost has to account for the shells embedded in it. It's over 4x the cost per square foot compared to Chromexcel, which is already on the pricey side. By and large, it seems people prefer gloss over grit, so this stuff will remain an oddity.

It's been a treat to work with this stuff. With this second batch of wallets, my supply is nearly exhausted and I'm not sure when I'll see it again.

* Unglazed shell exists, and I think it's a really compelling leather. It has a matte finish and some nice funk that is absent from classic shell. I have a little bit of it locked away in storage, I think.

** There are some (grained) glazed leathers that I like. The effect and be really pretty, it crackles as it breaks in, but shell doesn't really do this, since there's no grain to break. The factory glazing process is amazing, it involves a polished glass cylinder and an extremely dangerous machine. Punch "glazing jack" into a video search to see it happen.

*** Here in the secret third footnote I just want to say that I'm not really into the trend of reversed/splattered/marbled shell cordovan either. I understand the impulse, but calculated funk isn't funk. The grace of character can't be created, it has to be incidental. Acquired, then embraced. Leathers like this give me the same feeling as sanded jeans or distressed furniture or any other form of manufactured authenticity. Just take the long way home!

The Wayward Sister Keychain is a good example of what I've always wanted Hollows Leather to be. It's beautiful, simple, and unique. It has real, everyday function, and it's fun to use. It's my second collaboration with Cat Bates, and the hardware design is adapted from his Sister Clip hardware that he uses for some of his necklaces and bracelets. Working with Cat is a real pleasure, his aesthetic eye is unmatched, he brings great energy to his work, and we share a strong appreciation for goods that gain more character with time and use.

This keychain is the culmination of very long line of belt loop style keychains that I've offered over the years, each iteration has taught me something new about how the ideal design should be made. Every aspect has been in the process of evolving and fine tuning -- the strap shape, the sizing, and most importantly the hardware. I've been through an encyclopedia of swivel snaps and spring clips, and each of them is lacking in some small way. One of my main goals for the new hardware was to eliminate the weakest point of the old designs: the spring and hinge. The Wayward Sister has no moving parts to break or wear out.

The original clip was hand-fabricated by Cat using lugged construction to wrap the joints. As a cyclist and retrogrouch I fully appreciate this, both as a construction method and as a subtle visual accent. The final pieces are cast, so the lugs are now a handsome vestige of the original construction process.

The function of the clasp isn't immediately obvious, and takes a bit of practice to use it well. The basic concept has been used in sailboat rigging since the 1890s because it's quick and easy to operate, yet strong and secure. The two pieces are joined by aligning the notches so that they can pass through one another. For the first few days I had to look down at the keychain to clip and unclip my keys, but after about a week it felt completely natural and I was able to get my keys on or off one handed without looking. In four months of testing, my keys have never come unclipped accidentally. It's also worth mentioning that it's super fun to use and play with.

I'm ridiculously proud of the final product. It looks good, works well, the craftsmanship and materials are top notch, and it's made in the USA. It's exactly the kind of product I'd want to buy, which is why it's exactly the kind of product I'm excited to sell. You can shop for it right here.

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