Bone handled canes
Quirky canes, sturdy walking sticks, hiking poles, handy-at-a-meeting talking sticks and elegant ceremonial staffs - Tojo makes them all. Woods include pine, willow, birch, alder, bamboo and the always popular diamond willow. Cane handles are crafted from elk, moose, or deer antler, or sometimes bone or wood. Sizes vary and can be shortened to suit. Prices range from $50 to $500.
Our bags are creative! We make our own patterns, some of them one-offs, and we are not afraid of making mistakes: that's where some of our most interesting designs have their start.
Our bags are crafted from 100% genuine leather, in a variety of weights and textures. Most of our leather is upcycled (for example, it may have been a couch at one point), and has been cleaned, renewed and given new life as a cool, weathered-looking bag. We're proud to be saving the world, one bag at a time.
Styles include messenger bags, boho, evening glam, iPad case, and more. Luggage too! Our product line is always changing, and always fresh. What this means for you is that you will never, ever see your bag coming down the road on someone else's shoulder - unless someone loved your bag so much they, um, borrowed it.
Prices range from $10 (small draw-string pouches) to $350.
Tojo trims a driftwood stick on the banks of the Mackenzie River in the NWT
Tojo is a craftsman from way back. Years ago he made a living creating furniture out of willow, and for awhile he lived on a reserve in Alberta and learned how to do beading on leather the old way. He's always created unique and high quality crafts; two of his works are in gallery collections. The rest of the time he worked hard at doing home and commercial renovations. Now here comes the sad part:
Several years ago an unexpected illness robbed Tojo of sight in his left eye. At first he thought it was something he could work around, but it soon became clear that the days of exacting work on reno sites were over for good. During the long, quiet time it took to recuperate, Tojo tried working with his hands again, threading needles and hammering rivets. It was hard going. His cuts were crooked and his aim was off. Nothing seemed to come out right. Here comes the good part:
Finally he decided to try making himself a walking stick. The stick would help him with his balance - judging distances can be tricky with just one eye - and making it would give him a sense of what he could still do. That first stick was no award winner, but it had a kind of rough charm, and it never failed to keep Tojo upright.
Now, many sticks and bags later, it's clear that Tojo can do a LOT with one eye. But more than that, something of Tojo's warmth and perseverance seems to be resident in all of his sticks and bags. The more you use them, the more this quality shines through.
Mo's skills as an acrylic paint artist come in handy!
Mo is Tojo's co-creator in the Coquitlam studio. She's Tojo's best pal, and - oh yeah! - his wife. She provides the digital know-how to keep this website up and running, and is an accomplished designer of leather bags in her own right.
Originally from the Northwest Territories, Mo studied design at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto, and is an accomplished painter in acrylics. She has also accumulated over 20 years of experience working in the high tech world as a user interface and user experience designer. For Mo, creating whimsical, carefully crafted leather products is a welcome real-world relief from the usual screen & keyboard.
Photos 1: Walking sticks featuring pyrography by Larisa. Photo 2: A tricky 2-piece walking stick (fits in a suitcase!) completed with Mario's help
Sticks and Bags is fortunate to work with a range of creative collaborators who lend their talent and skills to make our products unique and fabulous. Our collaborators include:
Mario Puliga, Consulting Engineer - woodwork, metalwork, electrical
Larisa Sviridova, Pyrography Artist - wood-burned drawing
Sean Whelly, Northerner - diamond willow harvester
Gabriella - beadwork