It was August, in Georgia. A hot, humid, sticky Savannah summer.
And I was bored. Very bored and desperately trying to avoid leaving the house.
However, that day I felt compelled by an antique sale to leave the house. Wearing as much clothing as Southern Summers allow I braced myself and opened the door. After living in the South for almost three years and enduring two Summers, I have a deep, deep respect for air-conditioning and shorts.
Ten blocks felt like one hundred. And after what seemed like ages, I had arrived. Walking through the various, picked over stalls in a random corner, I found four pieces of crumpled upholstery leather. And I really do mean OLD and UPHOLSTERY. These leather squares had once been an old chair of some sort. Holes and leftover tacks lined the perimeters, scratches from use covered the surface.
Yet, in these well worn hides there was potential. I marched home and got to work.
This was the beginning of Bramble & C and that first bag is still going strong.
Here we are now, three Summers later and I’m still making bags. It’s just that now, doors can be left open, one can go outside without feeling like you’re in a sauna and sometimes, you can even wear a sweater…in JULY!
Bramble & C has developed from random whim to actual progress. Designs have expanded and changed and seams have gotten straighter.
So let’s take a look (more like read) shall we?
All three designs were created with simplicity and practicality in mind.
I’m a pretty no nonsense person and wanted these totes to be just that, no nonsense.
The NOTEBOOK was the first bag to be designed. All I wanted was a straightforward vessel that catered to one object in particular: notebooks. Notebooks of all shapes and sizes, widths and content. Being an art student, a student in general and a person, I tend to carry a lot of flat book like things, Moleskins are my favorite. I also have the habit, like most of us of traveling around with not only flat objects but other important necessities. Running errands, a dinner date, a work day at the cafe or an intense study session at the library, we need our stuff! And it’s my opinion that carrying it around be as simple as possible. So that’s why I created the NOTEBOOK.
An uncomplicated bag that holds all of your notebooks, books, laptops, jackets, water bottles, SNACKS (everyone needs to carry emergency snacks!), all the valuable things.
Sewing in straight lines was getting a bit boring, and so I decided to curve it up all little. That’s how we got the SWITCH BACK. Not only did the idea of making a big rounded bag sound quite lovely, but I wanted to solve a problem. A problem almost all women and perhaps men too will understand. The problem I speak of is this: purse/bag/tote straps falling off your shoulder. It’s one of my pet peeves and something I wanted to remedy, limiting as much as strapy nonsense as possible. This bag has been named the SWITCH BACK because the straps are crossed, but it holds a more covert meaning.
The name is an ode to the switch backs on hiking trails. When I’m not sewing or going to school or sleeping, I’m most likely hiking outdoors or day dreaming of hiking outdoors. I love hiking. And on one particularly long trip in Spain, I encountered a full on decline with no switch backs what so ever. What goes up the Pyrenees must come down the Pyrenees. Clambering down that trail was agony, not to mention deeply humbling, and while I trudged downwards I developed a profound appreciation for switch backs.
With the NOTEBOOK and SWITCH BACK cut and sewn, a huge box of leather scraps had accumulated. Instead of waisting scraps of beautiful hide, I resolved to use them. Making the most of this animal, honoring every inch of a being who gave it’s life for us. I didn’t want the little guys to be left out, therefore the RUNT was born. The RUNT is a small, patchwork bag made up of the scraps and pieces with extra special character. Raw edges, variations in color and texture, all things that make the RUNT unique. Each one is wonderfully different. Don’t let it’s compact size fool you, the Runt is just as useful and just as practical as the other two bags.
There’s a lot more to this post than just describing why the RUNT was named the RUNT and the various things these bags can carry.
This is a reminder that boredom can often lead to great productivity and inspiration.
As an only child boredom was a familiar and at first, an uninvited friend.
However, boredom and solitude have become welcomed, even trusty comrades.
You never know when something will come from nothing.
Things happened when a Southern Summer and an old antique shop were combined. Ta Da!
What are the old dusty things in the closet or basement or hard drive or mind that are just waiting to be resurfaced?
Redeveloped. Rethought. Recreated.
Thank you for reading and have fun re-inventing!
p.s. I’ll leave you with one more thing…I’ve been thinking a lot about fishing lately. What does that have to do with Bramble & C.?
Well, subscribe to CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC and you’ll find out!