A Foundation for Creation

When Alexa Allen ’94 visited Lawrenceville with a friend whose brother was playing lacrosse on campus, it was a beautiful spring day with flowers and trees in full bloom. Having recently relocated to New Jersey from Colorado, Allen was awestruck and asked her mom if she could apply.

Now back in Colorado where her job description includes maker, artist and designer, with a specialty in handmade wood objects and leather goods, Allen says her experience at Lawrenceville left a lasting impression.

“Lawrenceville gave me the foundation, the structure and the confidence to know I have this great education,” she says. “I was always creative. The most inspiring class [at Lawrenceville] was a photography class I took my senior year, and I still have photos from that class.”

After Lawrenceville, Allen went to college in California to study art history. She then trained as a woodworker and gained experience in a high-end custom cabinet shop in the Bay Area. After returning home to Boulder with her family, she says she was intrigued by the material of leather as an art form, and ventured into creating leather goods.

“I was interested to see what leather could do. There are interesting ways to use leather,” she says. “[The products] are wet formed over a mold. When they dry, they keep their shape and have become what I’m best known for in Boulder.”

In addition to her eponymous studio space, Allen runs an online store where she sells items including leather belts, cuffs, bowls featuring artistic designs, and mirrors to hang in the home. She also offers a line of leather bags, including “The Lawrenceville Duffle,” a weekender bag inspired by her boarding school roots. She’s even creating a custom leather piece for fellow classmates celebrating their 25th Reunion next week.

“I come from this making background,” she says. “I have a sense of how things go together. That’s the basis of my life.”

With an eye toward expanding, Allen draws inspiration from her woodworking and design roots and envisions opportunities to create custom leather architectural features, like wrapped banisters, doors and mirrors.

As a creative person, Allen says her education is a foundation she still relies on.

“For me, art history was important. I needed to know about the things that I was going to be making, to take the theory and critical thinking moving forward.

“When you are finding that you have a passion for creating things, that’s all you want to do,” she says. “But the nuts and bolts education is really important too.”

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Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.