byLizzy Youngling| Sep 15, 2017
It’s not every day you see Wonder Woman gracing the side of a pair of tall boots in the show ring. But if Mary Jensen, owner and creator of Mary AnnToinette Leather Studio, has anything to say about it, you will soon. In a sport with such an established history, it can be difficult for riders to express their own sense of style in the show ring. That’s where Jensen comes in.
Based in Temecula, California, Jensen’s leather products are slowly making an impact on circuits around the country. Christina Christensen, owner of Core Equestrian, quickly fell in love with the avant-garde style of Jensen’s collections and is now a sponsored rider.
“I’ve been buying leather products the whole time I’ve been in the equestrian world, and I’ve never seen anybody produce anything the way she produces things,” explains Christensen. “Especially for such a traditional market, you get kind of the same thing. We’re out here all day, and we’re all trying to define our own style while we’re doing this traditional sport.”
What started as a hobby for Jensen—making dog collars and browbands—has since blossomed into a tall boot-top collection ($250 and up; boots not included), spur straps ($180 and up), and belts ($800 and up). Noelle Floyd Style sat down with Jensen to learn more about her craft, what inspires her, and how you can get your hands on one of her surreal creations.
NF Style: What’s the process of creating a custom boot top?
Mary Jensen: Clients will send me their tall boots and I do the leather work on the top—I hand cut everything. I draw it out, first, and make sure the silhouette fits the boots. When I have time that’s unbroken, the process of making the boot tops only takes a few days.
All the leather is in exotics and I only use materials that are legal. My favorite material is ostrich leather because it is very durable. I can do anything. If someone says they want boots with geometrics or flowers, I can do it. I’ve also had a request to do Wonder Woman boots, which I’m still working on. One client wanted a green snake with red eyes on her boots—they were fun. Then her son saw her boots and wanted a red dragon on his! The face of the dragon [has] eight different layers.
How did you get into leatherworking?
I started a couple years ago. Believe it or not, my training and degrees are in astrophysics and math, but I haven’t done that for years. I’ve been with Allen Clarke (show jumper Lane Clarke’s father) for about 10 years now. Allen used to be a saddle-making apprentice a long time ago in Australia. He was into leather carving and wanted to get a leather sewing machine. When we first got it, I made a leather dog collar for fun. And then I started making brow bands, and then it went from there.
Where do you source your materials from?
I have suppliers that import the materials from legal farms. If I get material from Africa, or any of those countries, these suppliers actually get them from where the animal is killed. They use every part of the animal—it feeds a village or provides clothing. I want to make sure that no part of that animal is wasted. That’s really important to me because they didn’t give their life, it was taken from them.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The beginning inspiration in using exotics was from a fissure in a rock. That started this whole design thing and you can see it in a lot of my belts—there’s a jagged texture with some color coming out in the fissure. Then I saw a dragonfly, and that started my dragonfly collection, where I have the geometric designs from in their wings and colors. Then I started a rose collection when someone asked for a ombre rose on their boots. I’m in the process of doing a phoenix, in reds and oranges and yellows. The designs are mostly based on nature—seeing a mountain, seeing a sunset, seeing some flowers, seeing dragonflies.
The sky is the limit. I’m going to try it all. Why not?
To learn more about Mary Jensen’s designs, scroll the gallery above or visit the Mary AnnToinette Leather Studio on Facebook.
- Lillie Keenan’s Lace Shirt at Šamorín Is Next-Level Elegant [NF Style]
- Rönner Design’s Mimosa Slippers Will Make You Want to Ditch Sandal Season For Good [NF Style]
- All Splurge of the Week posts [NF Style]