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Nancy Anna Makes Art from Leather

New Anderson Artists Guild member Nancy Anna moved to California in her twenties, drawn from her native Connecticut to life in a big city.

She made a living doing office work for medical groups. “I enjoyed it but always wanted to pursue my art," she said.

She had started doing leathercraft—making belts and wallets—as a teenager. A store owner in California, impressed by her talent, invited her to a class taught by a master in the field. That’s where Nancy learned to stretch, emboss, and carve leather. “I made it my own by taking it further, by making more cuts,” she said.

She starts with a flat piece of leather. “I wet it, manipulate it, and fill it with glue and leather powder so it keeps its shape,” she said. She then carves it with various tools, including a swivel knife, scalpel, and exacto knife. Sometimes she uses wood carving tools.

Her specialty is animals, especially birds. She started with roosters—a good luck charm in Italian folklore—and has evolved into creating peacocks, cardinals, blue jays, and owls.

She and her husband relocated here after he was laid off, and Nancy has been getting her artwork out there. It can currently be seen at the Earle Street Café and at Wood You.


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