Lasting Designs, Amish Craftsmanship

People / Places / Products / January 11, 2013

Rebecca Smith lives and works in Ohio’s Amish country, and contributes mightily to it too.

An equestrian who also breeds and shows English Setters, she’s president of Rebecca Ray Designs, with a sporting-life product line that’s hand made by Amish craftspeople.

“Their buggies pull up to their homes in Burton, Ohio and they pass out pieces to work on,” she says.  “It’s a pot luck and a cutting bee – for livable wages.  They’re women who might not have the opportunity to work in their homes, with their children.

Amish harness makers in Lancaster, Penn. work on her leather, nylon and canvas products.  Their equipment is treadle or air powered, with no connections to the grid – or to phones or fax machines.

“It’s all excellent craftsmanship, with an excellent work ethic,” she says.  “And we keep the jobs here.”

Her luxury product lines appeal to those who love horses and dogs, but to those who strive for that lifestyle too.  Her bracelets, jewelry, duffels, laptop cases and handbags are designed to last a lifetime.  “The design holds up,” she says. “It’s an investment piece.”

Less permanent but equally intriguing is her Seven Barks line of stationery, post cards and wrapping paper.  It’s branded with images of animals and empowered women inspired by illustrations from the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s.

“It was a romantic time period,” she says.  “It’s all very Great Gatsby.”

With an refreshingly ethical twist.

For more information, go to

View Images:

Tags: ,

Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

Previous Post

A Slender Home for a Slender Lot

Next Post

Minimum Effort for Maximum Results

You might also like

0 Comment

Leave a Reply

More Story

A Slender Home for a Slender Lot

Six architects declined their project before the clients approached Matthew Griffith and Erin Lewis of in situ studio in Raleigh,...

January 10, 2013