The leather artisan
Published 3:30 pm Monday, August 31, 2015
Dragana Obradovic creates one-of-a-kind bags and jewelry from leather
Story and photos by Laura Brookhart
Over the door to Dragana Obradovic’s studio is draped an enormous ivory calfskin leather hide, awaiting its future incarnation as a handmade Dragana Leather Design.
Born in Skopje, Macedonia and raised in Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dragana grew up watching her father, Vid Vujcic, a leather handbag designer and maker.
“At a very young age, I joined him in the family business,” she said. “My father was a careful instructor, immersing me in the intricacies of design and production, while allowing me to develop my own style.”
She notes her design aesthetic to be influenced by the elements of nature and animals as well as the structure of architecture. “I have been ever-mesmerized by color and pattern,” she smiles.
“My innate sense of design was further honed after graduating high school,” she added. “Then, I devoted myself to learning the entire process—from giving birth to an idea, transforming it into a modern design, and painstakingly hand-crafting it into a product for fashion lovers.”
Dragana became the chief designer for Galanterija Vujcic, working there until meeting and marrying her husband, Mak Obradovic. The couple met six years ago, introduced by mutual friends.
They lived in Orlando, Florida before Mak accepted his current teaching position in physics and statistics at Indian Springs School in 2010.
“I love my life here in Pelham; the school is international and there is good camaraderie among the faculty and staff.”
“I have invested myself in producing fine, enduring and practical leather products over the past 20 years,” Dragana said, adding, “Charlie and Cindy Thigpen were the first to encourage me to market my work here in Alabama, for which I have great appreciation.”
Her style, urban bohemian, is set apart by the unique finishing work that draws the eye to any Dragana Leather Design. Using such techniques such as hand stitching and punching, each work-of-art handbag is given its own name, frequently floral in nature.
Dragana Leather Designs are available at Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery at Pepper Place.
And, motorcycle aficionados take note—a new endeavor currently underway is Dragana’s creation of handmade, hand-stitched leather motorcycle seat covers for Confederate Motorcycles.