LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Often the inspiration to create something can come from a person’s heritage or childhood. For a Lincoln woman’s emerging handbag company, her storefront pays homage to her home culture.
Tasha Abourezk has owned Mhazuetsa, a handcrafted leather handbag company for about a year. The name is actually his middle name, meaning sweetgrass, and a tribute to his life as a member of the MHA Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes.
“It’s always been very important to me because, especially in cities, a lot of people don’t even realize that natives still exist,” Abourezk said.
Mhazuetsa incorporates Native American designs into pieces that anyone can use and enjoy.
“I just like this idea of wearing this cultural element,” Abourezk said.
Abourezk’s childhood was full of nature, growing up in national parks. She started quilting, a long-standing Native American tradition. It’s a skill she’s adapted to her new medium, leather.
“I just like working with leather,” Abourezk said. “It kind of takes me back to where I grew up, you know ranches, farms and I grew up in North Dakota and Montana and it’s just kind of this western feel.”
Each bag takes a few days to make. Abourezk selects a skin from his stock, cuts the gromits by hand and sews them all by hand.
“So I do everything myself,” Abourezk said.
In recent years, Native American craftsmen have been featured in more mainstream and widely recognized designs in general, which Abourezk says is a long time coming.
“Amazing culture, amazing group of people, we have amazing art, and I think that’s why I love having my bags out in the world,” Abourezk said.
Abourezk said the next step is expansion. She hopes to hire two or three more people to help her meet growing demand, while continuing to have this artisanal approach.
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