Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This sort of thing IS my bag, baby

Hee hee - sorry for the 14 year-old Austin Powers reference, but I thought it fit perfectly with today's post.  :D

Think for a second about your shopping habits - where do you shop?  How often?  Okay, now think about the bags where your items are placed.  What do you do with the bag when you get home?  Do you recycle it?  Reuse it for something else?

In the case of paper bags, mine are recycled right away unless they have a handle, in which case I either use it to place my recyclables for garbage day or if it's pretty, try and reuse it for Christmas or a birthday. 

So when I see a little (older) bag in great condition it always makes me smile.  I try and think about how on earth it managed to stick around so long!  Was it mistakenly sandwiched between books and then placed in an attic?  Was it in a box with another thousand of its brethren in an old warehouse somewhere?  Or was a souvenir purchased in some far-off land and the bag kept as a memento?

In my collection, I have some of each of these instances.  This little blue bag held items that I bought at Dretzka's Department Store in Cudahy (Wisconsin).  It's a Russian store and it's been around in one form or another for decades - they have all kinds of kooky vintage items (oddly, in their online shop they only sell socks and long underwear - seems like a wasted opportunity to me!).  At one point it must've been called The Emporium; judging by the font I'm going to say that the bag is from the mid-Sixties.  I love that these bags still exist - hardly anyone take the time to print up paper bags like this anymore due to the cost.

This other little bag is from Israel and my Grammie saved it from her trip there in 1979.  I would've saved it too - I love the bold colors and the Hebrew lettering!  The memory of what was purchased at this shop is lost but I'm sure glad that I own this bag, for several reasons.

Here's more foreign (to me) bags - these beautiful "Fruit & Primeurs" and Gateaux Fins bags!  I purchased these myself at one of my favorite shops, Assemblage Studio (seriously - if you live in a 100-mile radius of De Pere, Wisconsin and you love the types of things I'm talking about?  YOU NEED TO GO THERE.  Period).  Theresa, the owner, has a lot of foreign items and I'm a sucker for all of them.  I think she knows this.  :D

The next time you go shopping at a boutique and get a pretty little bag, try and hang onto it.  Maybe in 50 years someone will thank you for it!  Who knows - by then it may even be worth a lot of money!

I've used bags in my artwork a few times - maybe I'll get bold and use my other bags someday!  I hope I do!


  1. I love old pretty bags! They are pieces of art themselves. And, wonderful to make art with, too! Completely agree! _Alisa

  2. Thanks Alisa! :D It's a shame that more people don't print them up anymore - it makes sense, what with people wanting less waste. But maybe if the bags were prettier, more people would save them? :D