February 18, 2017

Handbag Happiness

Once upon a time, quite a long time ago, I lived an uncomplicated life of drinking coffee, sleeping in, walking without purpose with my camera and crafting until dawn. At the height of my totally blissful egocentric existence, I resided alone, with cats, in a 17 foot 1979 Monza single axle caravan, in a quiet side field of a camp site by the sea. I stripped the caravan back and filled it with exciting and pointless items of kitsch loveliness, I had little requirement for cooking but infinite solutions for sewing paraphernalia and knickknacks. I hand painted the large window at the bed-end of the van in a euphoric stained glass mural of rolling hills and sunshine which bathed me in colour each sunrise.

I worked as little as possible and directed my time as I wished. It would have been optimal for social media output (had it existed yet), endless time, millions of photographs and a completely unhindered lifestyle of inspiration and creativity.
In this time, I made handbags.
Lots and lots of handbags.
Weird and wonderful novelty totes and clutches
It had started in college and really took a hold when I stopped working night jobs
I called my handbag enterprise ‘A-La-Kat’ and the handbags has little menu cards which elaborately described the materials and processes in the style of obtusely fancy restaurant menus

“A bold yet naive collection of Apples, presented uniformly in acrylics on a rich creamy muslin, lightly laminated, partnered with a garden twine lattice & the flamboyant essence of Summer”

I transformed broken and found objects into little portable creations and became totally one track minded.

If you could carry it and put stuff in it it was a bag; and I wanted to make ALL of the bags, and make everything INTO bags. I would go on salvage excursions and urban foraging forays gathering things I could use, I had many confusing conversations in DIY shops.
I sold rather a lot of handbags, for appallingly small amounts of money, in Cornwall and Brighton, it was the beginning of something and nothing.
I really couldn’t say why I stopped. Something like growing up and getting a proper job. A bit about Losing the free spirited abandon of creation when time became micro managed. A lot to do with re focussing my life into motherhood.

It matters not.
All of the joy of sitting in my dimly lit, incense heavy van; drinking wine, listening to music and fiddling with fabric and glue guns and scraps and sewing and creating without boundaries exists always as one of the most beautiful capsules of my lifetime.

2 Comments on “Handbag Happiness

February 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm

So many fabulous designs. Staying in your little caravan was an absolute delight. It was like an Alladin’s Cave of beautiful curious quirky creations. This brings back loads of memories x

Cathy Thomas
February 19, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Thanks ☺️ Happy memories indeed! One day I should like to have a caravan again (don’t tell graham!) 😉 x


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