My first Introductions participant, Armen Amirian, introduced me to Corinna Mantlo. Armen and Corinna met through www.nycvinmoto.com, a website dedicated to New York City motorcyclists who ride, restore, race and maintain vintage & classic motorcycles.
In a bit of a cross-over between my two projects, Corinna makes custom leather motorcycle seat upholstery and other leather products out of her apartment in Brooklyn. It always amazes me to see the clever ways people make the most of the limited space in New York apartments, and Corinna was no exception. Beneath the loft area where she sleeps, Corinna has set up her studio, complete with two sewing machines and well designed storage for all the tools and supplies she needs for her business.
Corinna has been sewing since she was a teenager and during high school she interned at the Metropolitan Museum, cataloging their clothing collection and tracing patterns from the pieces. This led to her interest in costume design and she spent time designing and sewing costumes and reproduction clothes for movies. For the past three years, Corinna has been creating motorcycle seats and has recently started to expand into upholstery for vintage cars.
Corinna has taken her passion for motorcycles in many directions. She is the co-founder of the Motorcycle Film Festival, which is in it’s third year and has already expanded to other parts of the US and abroad, and drew 85 film submissions last year. She also hosts Cine Meccanica, a weekly screening of old car and motorcycle themed movies at a bar in Brooklyn. And if that isn’t enough, she has started Loose Screw Seminars, a series of talks and classes for motorcyclists, by motorcyclists developed to get more people out and interested in bikes.
Corinna has two motorcycles of her own – a 1968 BSA 650, which was custom built from two bikes, and a 1971 Yamaha AT1. She also has a very friendly 5-year-old dog named Neville, who was quite interested in our photo shoot.
Check out Corinna’s handiwork and her other endeavors at http://viameccanica.com. Even if you don’t ride motorcycles, Corinna’s other leather products are worth exploring - I’m going to have her make a custom wallet for Doug. Many thanks to Corinna for an enjoyable afternoon getting to know one another, taking some photos, and for teaching me about all the crazy things you can do on a motorcycle!
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