Deep in the incredibly beautiful hills behind Bologna is a company steeped in the age old tradition of block printing. Whilst this noble printing method itself is a huge pull for a company like us that values all things artisanal, it was not that that necessarily caught our eye. It was that the ‘stamped’ pattern appeared to be a tattoo on the wonderfully worn leather bags we were viewing. To my wonder I discovered that the ‘tattoo’ was made as a result of using rust in the print medium; it is the chemical reaction between it and the vegetable tanned leather that produces the colour and allows it to penetrate deeply into the leather surface to give the skin like effect.
The eureka moment happened 2 thousand years ago when it was noticed that the leather breaches on the roman soldiers were blackened where their swords rubbed against their side. An enterprising individual took it from there and rust printing has been practiced literally ever since.