The impeccable craftsmanship of Tesler + Mendelovitch's handcrafted wood clutches is enough to make one wonder if the exquisite objects d' arte are made to wear or to display on a pedestal. Dubbed "Wearable Wood," the Tesler + Mendelovitch line of architectural, artisanal handbags is constructed from a variety of sustainable woods—Rosewood, Walnut, golden Emboya, intense Ebony and creamy Birchwood—combined with a leather lined interior. Every inch is made by hand, from the wood selection and cutting to the final polish. The diamond-patterned, geometric surface design provides necessary flexibility, but the wood textures are soft to the touch, being at once, both delicate and wear resilient.
The team members behind Tesler + Mendelovitch are Israeli designers Orli Tesler and Itamar Mendelovitch, who've lived and worked together in Tel Aviv ever since opening their own studio six months after graduating from the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design.
"Our wearable wood series is the synthesis of our individual interests in fashion and industrial craftsmanship," says Orli. "We're inspired by the minimalism of clean lines and precision, but we also like the idea of creating soft materials from hard, and hard materials from soft. Mostly, the material itself inspires us."
"Wood is so versatile, the beautiful grain tells a story of where it came from and you can feel its history when you hold the material in your hand," says Itamar. "Warm and durable, wood lasts a very long time and does not wear and tear within a year."
Admirably, Tesler + Mendelovich go to great lengths to also leave no wear-and-tear on the environment. "Any wood that we use is sourced from sustainable plantations," says Orli. "For every tree that is cut, two are planted in its place. Our working method in the studio produces very little waste as we use every bit of the wood and do not discard anything. We work with hand tools that do not require carbon energy. We strive to create timeless pieces that are not trend-dependent, maintaining a high quality design that stands the test of time. We also make to order, only producing by demand."
There are six wood varieties to choose from and two size options: 11.8 inches wide for $580 and 15.7 inches wide for $680. Each features a magnetic clasp and a soft underbelly for a comfortable grip. The finished product feels luxuriously smooth, soft and hard—all at once—and fits in hands like the unique, custom-made functional art objects that they are.