I met James Michael Wisnewscki, aka, Jimmi wZ at an artists gathering, here in Florence, AL. He walked in, sat down, and started to play his singing bowl. Afterwards, we entered into conversation about spirituality and traveling. Then, he showed me his bags, and my heart began to pound.
Heart-pounding is a natural reaction to viewing a Jimmi wZ bag. Those of us who wear this artistry feel really…well… special. I am sure this feeling is the result of how wZ creates each bag with his heart and soul.
Jimmi wZ Hand Wrought Bags are custom designed, one of a kind creations utilizing the finest leathers available from around the world. Each individual piece is hand cut, hand punched, and hand stitched as well as the particular care given to every string of lace and antler, bone or stone that is used for these original works of art. Choice buffalo, elk, and deer, as well as alligator, moose and steer hide are carefully chosen for their color, texture and softness with special attention to durability.
Jimmi wZ bags are approaching their third decade of evolution. Having begun on the banks of the Tennessee River along the ancient Indian trail of The Natchez Trace from the lessons of a magical medicine man passed down during long nights around the open campfire. Equipped with a small handful of primitive tools and a trunk full of leather, Jimmi wZ was able to create his works almost anywhere with much time spent in the deep wilderness. On these serene mountain tops or lone desert settings his work took on the feeling of the environment and reflected the intentions of the artist, which was to be close to nature and to respect the land and animals by utilizing all parts with reverence to the ancient ways. Finding his own style, Jimmi wZ caught the attention and has worked with top designers of Los Angeles, New York, and Paris for more than 20 years. Working out of his studio in Paris with a small group of trusted craftsmen, Jimmi wZ continues to develop and reinvent the art of leatherworking. www,jimmiwz.com
I had another discovery with Jimmi wZ — his music. His spiritual journey is an influence on the music he plays all over the world. He calls out to the universe with almost every instrument, including guitar and piano, but particularly with a flute. I have experienced his music in concert and in spiritual centers, where he invites his audience to make music with him. He is free in spirit, and he contends, “The secret is to allow life to happen.”
A big part of his spirit is his daughter, Zendaya, almost 21 months old, at print. About his heart, wZ came to my home to serenade my sick mother with his flute. Recently, I asked about his absence from Facebook and his website. He answered, “What’s more important (a website) or doing what I do?” Hands down, the world needs wZ to do what he does.
Originally from Florence, AL, Jimmi wZ is an artisan and prolific musician who now resides in Florida and shares his art with the world. His bags and music can be purchased from his website: www.jimmiwz.com
Garden Spices Magazine