The Art of Being Human with Denver’s Animal Handmade

The embossed leather goods of Denver’s Animal Handmade brand are exquisitely detailed in their designs and impeccable in the quality of their craftsmanship.

But Animal Handmade Owner and Designer Ava Goldberg draws from something much deeper when creating the designs for her purses, pouches, clutches, wallets and other leather goods. Distilling complex, dichotomous instances of human experience into her artistically made pieces, Goldberg is fascinated by trying to understand the animalistic nature of humans and works to incorporate these musings into her highly unique art pieces. | @animalhandmade 


Lisa: Please tell me about your artistic background and how Animal Handmade came to be.

Ava: I was born and raised in Boulder, where my parents began a clothing company that they ran together for roughly thirteen years. My mother designed the clothing, and my father managed the business end, and I was no doubt deeply influenced by their efforts, resourcefulness and creativity. I’ve been making art since I was a kid, which I think was a natural reflex and an inevitability of growing up in a creative, entrepreneurial family. I started Animal Handmade after a very positive reception to a handbag I made for a friend, and I dove into developing the technique and artwork that became the foundation of the brand.

Lisa: What would say your signature style is in your art?

Ava: My style tends to be clean and graphic but with a textural feel thanks to the leather embossing. I aim to create strong, concise lines in my pieces that result in an almost hieroglyphic distillation of my ideas. Maximal pattern on a minimal form is one of my guiding principles.

Lisa: What inspires you artistically?

Ava: I’m inspired by the mysteries and beauties of our existence as well as their often dichotomous nature. Life is full of situations and events that are equally glorious and terrible, and I often use animal forms in my designs as a metaphor for these types of human experiences to help me lean deeper into those contrasts.

Lisa: What are some of your favorite Animal Handmade pieces you’ve created?

Ava: One of my favorite pieces I’ve made is our facet bag with the Electric Sleep pattern.

Lisa: What’s in store in the future for you, your artwork, and Animal Handmade?

Ava: I’m excited and hopeful about the new challenges and opportunities the future holds. My goal is to continue making beautiful things and to push myself into exciting and meaningful new projects.