Motivated by the desire of preserving —somehow— the art and work of my grandfather and finding out, as a designer, that leather is the material with which I identify the most due to its character, strength, and naturalness, I decided to undertake this journey of doing business, which has let me piece together many stories to tell and has meant, without a doubt, a dream that comes true every day.


It was in 2006 when the business idea came into my head. Months before my grandfather’s passing, I told him that I wanted to stay in charge of his workshop and work with Alexander, craftsman and his disciple for the last 16 years. At the end, thanks to that bindery where church books were restored, legal protocols were bound in leather and items like key chains, wallets, and some other souvenirs or special orders were manufactured, the whole family had gotten ahead. It was not crazy at all to think that this was worth a lot, that keeping it meant to "immortalize" my grandfather, but above all, that the essence of a classic handicraft workshop, which is now almost unseen, could transcend beyond the courtyard of our house with a little effort and work. I was sure that many like me would love the tools of old worn wood, the purest scent of leather, and the perfection with which Alexander learned to bind books.


We started by introducing small design details to what was already there and went inches further when adding a bit of color and daring in the form of a book, the combination of materials, in varying the function of a certain object. I say "we" because I was never alone, my venture from day one was along Alexander, as a companion, as a bridge between my grandfather and me. He has been able to preserve the most intact way possible of sewing a book, cutting leather, of folding it, of waxing the thread... We made the first handbag in 2009, for a friend of mine, and so, we experienced the chance of going from making notebooks and key chains to making bags.


I keep that first bag and treasure some of the first notebooks that I made with Alexander in those early design exercises. Today, he and I do not make bags anymore. Our tasks have evolved. We lead a team of craftsmen with years of experience, just like him. We closely follow the processes and deal every day to being faithful to what my grandfather taught us: to do things right.


As a designer, I found in leather the perfect material, my inspiration, and the protagonist of my work. Leather itself is beautiful, fine-looking, strong, and versatile. It is compliant, malleable, and rigid at the same time. I am passionate about seeing, smelling and touching it. Its imperfections, the scars of the leather, its texture, and the shine it gets with time are design elements in constant action. A leather product evolves, changes, becomes darker, older and more beautiful with time. Adding color to the leather has been, for me, a new form of expression. We went from conceiving leather as classic material to seeing it as contemporary material; the use of color has given my design proposal plenty of value not only as a proper means of expression but as a differentiator in the market.


I am Costa Rican, industrial designer, entrepreneur, and dreamer. My products are loaded with lots of passion, have a cultural flavor, and demand a high level of quality that I hope many will be able to appreciate. Through cueropapel&tijera, I wish the world to enjoy leather, in a practical and useful sense, respectful of the environment and, ultimately, our products to become a means of expression of its own, of what you are, and what you believe in.


Cueropapel&tijera is dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, the impulse of human talent, and to the beauty of our personal spaces.


Sofia Protti