InterviewsDec 18, 2018

Meet the Artisan: Peter Maxwell of Made Solid

Written by All Sorts Of
Photographed by Made Solid

Leather is a part of the Amber Interiors design aesthetic. We incorporate it in subtle ways and we’re obsessed with the way it patinas with age. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented craftsmen over the years and today, we’re excited to tell you all about Peter Maxwell, founder of Los Angeles-based leather goods company, Made SolidPeter and his wife (and business partner) Mia have a clear vision with their designs, constantly inspired by their surroundings, their upbringing and most importantly, western living. We’ve carried their gorgeous leather wrapped vases (natural and black) at Shoppe for the last year and today, we’re beyond excited to announce Shoppe’s collaboration with Made Solid with the release of the Shoppe x Made Solid Leather Trays. Every Made Solid product is a labor of love, handmade with extensive processes and made to last a lifetime. We sat down with Peter to discuss all things Made Solid and chat about our latest collaboration. And if you’re in LA, be sure to visit their East Hollywood storefront.


We’re super excited to collaborate with Made Solid on the brand new Shoppe x Made Solid Trays. Tell us about your creative journey and how you got here.

Made Solid began in 2014 when I decided to get back into leather work, having been around it a lot when I was younger. My first designs were rough versions of what would become our Hand Shaped Tray, Laced Tray and Eyeglass Case. Since the beginning, I‘ve been focused on keeping design fairly simple and refined, but with a warmth that comes from the best natural materials. I’ve also always wanted to stay connected to the history of materials and process I use. That means I make everything myself in a traditional saddle making style and I use an all natural vegetable tanned cowhide leather from one of the oldest US tanneries, Hermann Oak of St Louis Missouri (established 1881). 
Made Solid’s first exposure in the retail market was at the old Shelter Half store on La Brea [in Los Angeles]. That was a great fit, very inspirational. All local/US brands, mostly small with a lot of skate and surf influence — and just a ton of support for what I was doing. Shelter Half exposed a lot of other buyers to my work and it led to more stores and demand. That made me focus on design and craft a lot more and it’s been a never ending process of growth ever since. We’ve been really lucky in the support we’ve gotten.
Made Solid and Shoppe Amber Interiors connected when we released our Leather Wrapped Vases. They have been the perfect fit with that refined look with the natural warmth of the leather developing patina over time. It’s a great mix of Western and West Coast.


Why leather? Tell us about the materials and why they are so special.

We’ll it’s not just any leather, it’s a beautiful vegetable tanned leather used for high end Western saddles. It’s tanned with a “tea” of oak tree bark — that’s it. It’s light tan and stiff when new but wears beautifully, softens and patinas like no other leather out there. Hermann Oak is an American tannery, which is a plus. There’s so much history to the process. It’s all natural and sustainable.  Above all else, the leather just looks and feels amazing. It has grain and marks from the life of the animal. All of this reminds us that we’re using something that has a history deeper than just the construction of a product that was placed on the shelf for someone to buy. We take that approach with a lot of the work we do — looking for a deeper connection to history and origin, making those connections is actually where the name Made Solid comes from. Making Solid connections…

All Sorts Of - Made Solid

We love handmade goods. Tell us about the Made Solid creation process.

Well, I still make every Made Solid piece by hand in our East Hollywood studio and I cut by hand from full sides of leather (1/2 of a cow). All pieces are conditioned with plant oils and beeswax and edges are burnished. I pay a lot of attention to the edges of the leather, making them as round and smooth as possible. If stitching is involved, it’s all by hand saddle stitch – no sewing machine. I do a lot of dye and paint styles in addition to the veg-tan work we’re known for — of course that’s all by hand as well. I love the concept of reproducing consistent forms with one of a kind aspects so people can find the one that fits them best. This presents itself in the leather grain of a veg-tan piece, an indigo tie dye pattern or splatter paint design. 


What’s the life span of Made Solid leather goods? 

If we’re using the best materials and I’m making the pieces as I should, our work should last a lifetime!


Where do you find your inspiration?

We say that Made Solid design is “inspired by West Coast living.” To us, that means we balance the refined and casual, trying to keep a flow to everything we do. Beyond that, I can say that my wife Mia and I really live our process. Our life is so connected to what we do with Made Solid that inspiration comes from every part of life, who we know, our travel, families, history, music and so much more. We love the ocean and the desert. You’ll find elements of sand and water in Made Solid. I’ve been skateboarding since I was 10 and my family lived on Neptune in Leucadia through the 70’s and 80’s. You’ll find elements of flow and transition in Made Solid. Mia is from Japan and we travel there regularly. You’ll see this expressed in our stamp work and indigo design. There are so many examples, but I think you get the picture. 


We are huge advocates of shopping small and supporting local artisans. What’s it like being a small business in the (relatively large) LA community? It’s big, but small. Ya know?

Again, we’ve been lucky in the support we’ve received. Neither of us come from a design or sales background so we started from the very bottom in building this. I think that every community has a balance of people who are open to new people and ideas, and others who approach with caution or skepticism. Our goals is to stay open and honest with everyone. In doing so, we seem to find other like minded people — in business and personal life. As a small business that means taking things pretty slow and working with people that we have relationships with. In that respect, we wind up feeling like we’re working with friends. That makes everything a lot easier and makes the LA community feel super small!


What’s next for Made Solid?

We’re lucky to have built some great collaborative relationships over the past few years and we’re looking to do more in 2019. I love working with artists, as we’ve done a few times now with Japanese painter Yusuke Hanai. We’ll expand the scale of those collabs this year. I’ve also started sourcing Japanese, African and Mexican craft, vintage and antique pieces for interior designers. I get bored pretty easily so I keep designing. There will be plenty of new [items] in our bag and furniture collections. We have a podcast of my DJ mixes on the website too — I need to do more of that. People seem to like. Psssst: search Made Solid in the iTunes store to find them as well.

All Sorts Of - Made Solid

What’s a typical day like for you and Mia at home?

Little known fact — I teach spin classes, so a typical day is getting up early and going to the gym for a class. Then we eat together, walk Nico the dog and then we open our studio shop for regular hours. I’m working on design and making pieces until 10/11/12 at night most days… Then we do it again. Super exciting!!


What’s the best career (or life) advice you’ve ever received?

Stay humble.

Visit Made Solid

4855 Fountain Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029


Tuesday – Friday and Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Saturday: 11 am – 6pm




Shoppe x Made Solid Large Leather Tray



Shoppe x Made Solid Small Leather Tray



Made Solid Leather Wrapped Vases



Made Solid Leather Wrapped Vases


Leave a Comment