Paxton Original Makes Beautiful Purses From . . . Tires?!

You can find purses made out of seat belts, tape, trash bags, Legos and balloons, but Heather Paxton’s purse designs can run them all off the road—no, seriously. Paxton takes recycled tire inner tubes she buys from roadside assistance stops and bicycle shops, and turns them into wild, geometric handbags, purses and coin purses. Their asymmetrical, slouchy shapes and black leather look give off a grungy, cyberpunk vibe, but Paxton’s influence runs more along the lines of Mad Max: Road Warrior. “[In the] apocalypse, that’s what we’re gonna be carrying,” Paxton quips. “That’s the exciting part for me—not the death and destruction, but the fashion.”

Paxton started out making jewelry out of found objects, including used bicycle chains and tubes. From there, she progressed into turning truck and tractor tires into stitched-up, portable creations. The process to make one purse—after lengthy cleaning—takes up to an hour. The only difficulty is working with the thick, rubbery material—”there’s only so much you can get under the presser foot,” she says—so for the thickest tires, she uses bicycle tubes to lace the sides together, adding an alluring, woven finish.

The Brea/ Fullerton-based artist’s twist on these bags is to keep to a simple, basic look and not add any further embellishment. The tires’ own material comes with its original pattern markings and stamps, giving it a rugged appeal. Repurposing the rubbery material also falls in line with Paxton’s eco-conscious values. “They’re functional—that’s big with me,” Paxton says.

While most people wouldn’t think of tires as a fashionable material, Paxton’s purses have become a big hit. She receives custom orders frequently while running her shop and studio at Fullerton’s Magoski Arts Colony. Paxton is currently looking to make clothing out of tires and has already started making corsets. Stop by her store, Paxton Original, and get yourself a handbag fit to last you through the End Times.

Paxton Original at Magoski Arts Colony, 223 W. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton; Follow the store on Instagram: @paxtonoriginal.

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