Saturday, January 26, 2013

Meet Bob Basset

Many steampunk fans are familiar with the name Bob Basset and associate it with crazy wonderful leather and brass masks. What some don't realize however, is that Bob Basset is not an individual, but rather a group of leather workers in the Ukraine.

Brothers Oleg (top photo) and Sergey (second photo) Petrov had worked in leather since the 1980's, but only years later got serious with the establishment of Bob Basset. Soon they were working with several associates (between three and seven at any given time) making beautiful steampunk masks, bags, and other leather accessories, which they sell primarily on eBay under the name zvenig.

Sadly, Oleg died suddenly in April 2011 of cardiac arrest, but the other talented leather craftsmen have continued on. Their workshop is in the town of Kharkiv, Ukraine, about 30 miles from the Russian border.
Their leatherwork has been an inspiration to me ever since I discovered them, as well as many others.  One of their masks was recently copied in a scaled-down sculpture by a Chinese company, and sold through the mail order catalog of Design Toscano. Many of Bob Basset's fans complained about this, and Design Toscano quickly worked out an arrangement for compensation with the artists.
More of their work can be seen at the Bob Basset website.