I'm a purse-watcher. There have been many times when I've gone out of my way to study the design of a stranger's purse, going so far as to follow the woman and take mental notes of the design components that make her purse attractive. Needless to say I've gotten a few strange looks from people who probably thought I was fixing to rob them or something. There's just something about a well-designed bag that intrigues me. In order for a bag to be perfect it has to have the right number of compartments, the right kind of strap and closure, the right color and fabric and the right amount of space for all your stuff. But then, what's "perfect" for one person just doesn't work for another. I think this is why so many women are addicted to handbags - they're always searching for that "perfect" one. Years ago a simple clutch would suffice for me. Nowadays I need one that will not only hold my wallet, keys, sunglasses, cell phone and business cards but also some juice boxes, crayons, matchbox cars and random rocks and leaves that Sage instructs me to keep forever.
A friend of mine once remarked that it was funny that I have a sewing room full of purses, yet don't carry around a kokoleo purse myself. I guess I consider the purses and bags I make to be more sculptural experiments than anything else. I may spend up to 5 hours working on one - adjusting the size and shape, testing out different pockets, straps and closures - and then when I'm finished I just set it on the shelf and look at it. When I go to buy a purse for myself I tend to go for interesting shapes and styles that I simply couldn't recreate. This week I sold one of my needlepoint owl purses (thank you Sarah!) and then went out and bought these for myself:
The beaded one reminds me of those massage-chair thingies. It's definitely not something I could ever do because I don't have A. the beads or B. the patience to put something like that together. The same goes for the "prison art" candy wrapper bag that I got at Out Of the Closet, a thrift store that benefits AIDS research. I love these type of bags and have another one I got off ebay years ago made from old cigarette packs. I have no idea if this one was actually made in a prison but it has no label so I suspect some lone crafty soul made with his or her own two hands. At about 60 bucks less than these Ecoist bags I'd been stalking, I just had to get it.
I went to the Melrose Ave. flea market this Saturday and got a Depression-era patchwork quit for 15 bucks. I may or may not some day work up the nerve to cut it up and turn it into baby dresses? skirts? purses? but for now I'm going to leave it as a lap quilt. I also got a couple framed needlepoint pieces. Recently I've been on a mission to rescue neglected and forgotten vintage needlepoint and give them new life in the form of purses - the ultimate portable art. I forgot to photograph this one in it's frame but last night I turned it into this:
It's big enough to hold a Saturday Evening Post or whatever else you need to tote around. The lining is a multi-colored cotton material and the inside pocket is lined with an American flag:
Happy Memorial Day!