Portrait of Mariana Lafrance


CHEMISTRY + CRAFT hand-makes minimalist rucksacks for you from organic renewable materials. We are plastic-free, nearly metal-free and sometimes vegan. We use local ingredients when available and do everything by hand in-house, from dyeing our canvas to marketing.

CHEMISTRY + CRAFT was founded in 2017-2018 after a lively and inspired prototype race to create the perfect hand-made rucksack using renewable materials. Interdisciplinary artist and educator Mariana Lafrance was done with shoulder bags and back pain, and wanted to create a backpack that integrated her experience with natural fabrics and plant dyes and her interest in design and usability. With the support and encouragement of 27 private start-up funders, she bought a heavy-duty sewing machine, printed some labels, and got to work.

CHEMISTRY+ CRAFT is based in Wewebjiwong (Little Current) on Mnidoo Mnis (Manitoulin Island), in the heart of Anishinaabe territory. All products are hand-made in a small workshop on the shores of the North Channel of Lake Huron. We're committed to creating designs that forgo plastics and minimize metal, in favour of renewable, biodegradable and age-old materials such as hemp, organic cotton, vegetable-tanned leather, and beeswax.

CHEMISTRY + CRAFT is a death-positive business, meaning that it is aware that it will one day either perish or mutate unrecognizeably, and that it chooses to operate in a way that lets it show. You can read more about that aspect of the business here on this Medium.com blog.



Many people helped to get CHEMISTRY + CRAFT off the ground: thanks most of all to the funders who helped with start-up costs; thanks to RT for their support and the use of their space; miigwech to Debajehmujig Storytellers for the use of their costume room and awesome industrial sewing machine; thanks to DM for their relentless and unconditional support and enthusiasm; thanks to KA for those mastermind meetings; thanks to JS for carrying the leather and everything else; thanks to JR and NP for being the first rucksack models; thanks to Mula Yoga in Toronto for all those used yoga mats; thanks to LAMBAC; thanks so much to all first customers; and thanks to family xo.