My hands have been busy in the studio pulling fabrics, sewing and embellishing a new collection of unique, functional small bags for the Elysian Studios online shop.
Just in time for the holidays, I am excited to present the first Limited Edition Collection of Mixed Media Art Bags!
As an artist, mom and business owner, I am frequently on the go and often short on time to search the bottom of my bag for a lost essential item. I've learned that organizing myself into smaller bags is critical to operating efficiently when out and about. Categorizing necessary items into smaller bags within my purse or tote, I can easily find what I am looking for when rushing from work to school to appointments. When each of my bags is unique in color and shape, I can quickly identify exactly where I need to reach for a pencil, lip balm or keys. The problem I've had, is that most of the bags I find at department stores are a bit ordinary and boring, so I decided to sew some one of a kind bags for myself, my friends, and you!
The first styles offered in the Mixed Media Art Bag are a slim zipper pouch (left) and a small gusseted zipper pouch (right). The slim zipper pouches measure 7 1/2 inches high and 9 inches long, and the small gusseted pouch is 5 1/2 inches high and 5 1/2 inches wide. Though some of the bags coordinate and can be combined to create a matched set, each bag is individually sewn and unique, combining a variety of materials such as leather, fused plastic, painted canvas, tweed, linen and cotton. Most of the fabrics I select are reclaimed or recycled, making the bags eco and environmentally friendly.
The slim zipper pouch bag styles (shown above) easily organize pens/pencils, makeup, tech gadgets and eye wear. The slim profile fits nicely inside purses, totes, or luggage. This style is also easily carried on its own when you only need to tote a few essentials.
The gusseted zipper pouch (shown above) has a wider bottom that accommodates boxier items like lipsticks, hand lotion, mints, keys and earbuds. Keep your favorite items zipped up and handy in this small bag that can easily be moved from your purse to gym bag to carry on.
Take a look inside my studio at the creative process involved in constructing each unique Mixed Media Art Bag:
To create bag designs that are one of a kind, I use a variety of unique materials. Reclaimed leather, recycled and fused plastic, decorator fabric remnants, ribbon, as well as materials directly from my art studio: painted canvas, recycled original art, and hand-stamped fabrics.
Once I have gathered and selected coordinating materials, I arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing collage design to create the exterior surface of each bag. Each cut of fabric is then individually sewn to a backing fabric using straight, zig-zag or free motion stitching in a coordinating thread.
Decorative stitching unifies the structure of the fabric and creates visual interest, such as this wild free motion stitching which echoes the expressive brushstrokes of paint on the canvas. I also leave some edges raw, seen on the beautiful orange and pink silk (below), to make the surface of the bags more tactile and enjoyable to to touch.
On some of the pieces, I include original design embellishments, such as this hand carved, printed and colored Scottish thistle. Decorated with coordinating thread in free- motion stitching, this is an example of the artistic detail that goes into each Mixed Media Art Bag.
Each bag is lined with a complementary fabric, and finished with a coordinating zipper and knotted leather zipper pull. An "elysian studios" label is sewn inside each bag. Above is the new ribbon labels for the studio, which are sewn into the gusseted zip pouches. The slim zipper pouches have a prior label. Each bag is lovingly designed and individually handmade by me in my Denver, Colorado studio. Because each Mixed Media Art Bag is a unique piece of functional art, I have given each a title. In this edition, each piece bears the name of an influential woman that inspired its creation.