aprons, believe it or not, particularly this heavy-duty, handmade canvas one from the concept store Blackbird in Ballard, near Seattle. Clearly, with brass rivets and reinforced cowhide in stress areas, this work apron isn’t for baking cupcakes.
So here’s the deal. Off-season, Ballard is, according to the folks at Blackbird, “home to Alaska’s fish and crab boat fleets, where boats are maintained and repaired just blocks from our store. This makes our neighborhood full of colorful salty dog types smoking pipes, drinking beers and telling of their adventure at sea. This industry attracts many woodworkers, sailmakers and metal-smiths to our neighborhood, and The Field House is where they hang out and stock up on workwear for the season.
“A while back, Blackbird designer and all-around smart guy Billy Bartels was listening to some customers talk in the shop and came up with the idea of making tough-as-nails, functioning work aprons. After months of research and walking in the doors of many a canvas supply, tradesman shop and dry dock office, Billy was able to source salvaged heavy-used canvases pulled from back storage areas and scrap piles for his project. After meeting third generation Seattle sailmaker George Broom, he also knew who he wanted to construct the final product. Since 1910, the George Broom Sons family operation has manufactured high quality custom tarps, ship supplies and rigging for the sailing cargo ships carrying goods from Alaska, up and down the West Coast, and even south around Cape Horn to ports on the eastern American seaboard. George’s expertise as the company’s current operator has been invaluable to this project from start to finish.”
$165 at Blackbirdballard.com