First and foremost…my shop is a tribute to my late mother and her dreams as a seamstress…
Four factors contributed to the creation of my Etsy store The Bag Lady Atelier and I’d like to share it with you…
First…my mother’s passing… She was an excellent seamstress and even though it wasn’t her main profession, it was her passion. I grew up playing beneath her cutting table at her feet, marvelling at the bits of fabrics that would fall beside me. She instilled a love and a respect for textiles at a very early age. She sadly passed away in 2013, a few years before her retirement, where all she dreamed of doing was devoting all her time to her many sewing projects. She left me all her sewing supplies and trims and notions collected over the years. I took it upon myself to not leave all that she had given me in boxes and closets and start creating a line of my own in her honour.
Secondly…my travels. I have had the fortune to travel extensively these last years and have myself collected many beautiful fabrics along the way, with the intention to create unique items reflecting my style, taste and worldly discoveries. I have also found tremendous inspiration in the arts and crafts I immersed myself in during these travels.
Thirdly…my profession. I am a costume designer by profession and have been able to save some of the amazing fabrics I have used for my costumes from various productions over time. Each have a unique theatrical sensibility when paired with the right trim. This awesome collection I have acquired is too rich not to create with and share. Also, the title of my store comes from my father, who always looked at me shaking his head calling me the ‘bag lady’ because every costume designer knows, that anywhere you go, you are always lugging many heavy bags at once, looking frumpy in the process! I thought the title would be a nice wink to the profession and to my father, and would also be a way to elevate the expression too 😉
Lastly…my son. Ansel was born in 2014 and during my maternity leave, I would design bags from all the fabrics and trims I had in my vast collection during the few hours he would sleep at night. It gave me creative fulfillment and allowed me to have a passion project while taking care of my son full time. My mother would participate in craft fairs while I was growing up and it was always such a thrill and privilege to sit next to her at her kiosk and help her wrap purchased items for her customers. I hope to have that same experience with my son when he is older one day 🙂
Three years later, I finally launched my Etsy store in November of 2017, which remains a passion project of mine. I realize it is an amalgamation of my personal journey these past years and almost acts like my autobiography too. What makes my bags unique is their theatricality, because I approach their design exactly like I design a costume for a play. To me, each bag is a character in a play. Combined with my love for travel, they each hold a story in my eyes.
My project was selected by the Conseil des Métiers d’Art du Québec in 2019 as part of its large family of artists in Quebec, which makes me so proud.
Thank you for reading 🙂