That's the Quintessence

hand weave típico ribbon on telar de cintura back strap loom
Hands that weave threads of rich chocolate into the Quintessence

Have you ever stopped and noticed something that made you think, ‘Now that’s exactly how it should be’? If so, then you’ve experienced the very most ideal form of something and you know exactly what the word quintessence means.

Well, Quintessence is the name we’ve given to our collection of embroidered collars and leashes, and that’s because we believe they embody the very most ideal form of beautiful, rugged, handmade dog apparel.

German Shepherd wears handmade dog collar while indigenous artisan weaves
Moxie supervises while Maricela is happily hard a work

This is how some threads and a vision become the Quintessence.

Before the weaving process begins, the artisan winds the base thread around a wooden frame to measure out the length she needs and ensure there are no snags. Then she sets her base threads on a telar de cintura (traditional back strap loom) and begins to weave.

Indigenous artisan woman prepares típico thread for weaving
Sebastiana arranges the base thread around a wooden frame to prepare for the weaving

She passes several strands of base threads over and under to create a row and then she embroiders the design by weaving in the colored threads and tying off the loose ends. Before she begins the next row, she uses a wooden paddle to jam the loose threads into the ribbon to create an extremely tight, consistent weave.

Indigenous Guatemalan artisan woman weaves típico ribbon on back strap loom
Step Outside ribbon is brought to life one woven row at a time

Once the weaving is complete and our lead artisan, Yolanda Sebastiana, has reviewed the ribbon for quality and consistency, we pass it to our talented, young tailor, Juan Carlos, whose work with Ruff on the Road pays his way through university.

Juan Carlos performs a second check for quality and proper measurements. Then he sews the ribbon onto polypropylene webbing with a stitch that is bold, straight, and even but not too perfect that the quintessence should lose all trace of its handcrafted origins.

Guatemalan tailor sews handmade dog collar
Juan Carlos sews with a stitch that's bold, straight and even

If the ribbon is to become a collar – rather than a leash, harness, or other – then next come the buckles, slider, and the stainless D-ring, all of the highest industrial quality. And, lastly, the gray and fuchsia PVC label over a small triangle ring. This creates the no-jingle tag attachment that allows Rover to chase Kitty without making a ruckus!

Each step is performed by an individual – artisans in the truest sense – dedicated to their trade and to the common purpose of sharing the very best of their craft and tradition.

That’s the Quintessence.