Wednesday 22 March 2017

My Handbag - My Survival Kit.

I am creating a project about women and their handbags. If you would like to take part in a piece of art it is so easy to participate! Please could you take a few minutes to read my article, answer the questions at the bottom and email the answers back to me using the contact form. I would also love some photos of your bag and some objects. If you want to send photo email me and I will email an address to send them to. Also if there is anything in my article that resonates with you I would love to hear from you. Thank you so much for your support and contributions!

Ever since I was tiny my parents laughed at me because I was like a a little bag lady carrying hundreds of bags wherever I went, all stuffed with all my special things. My Mum said that I inherited it from my Granny who had a number of bags, all for different things and occasions. The difference was that she used them all at the same time, not in rotation, and not using particular favourites. She could never find the bag she wanted or the incredibly important thing she was looking for. Yes I have inherited her scattiness too and I hold on to it with pride.

Handbags are special, if you were asked to go into your Mum’s when you were a child it meant you had been given special permission and limited access. The ramifications if you went in there on your own rouge expedition for hidden sweets and forbidden coins were unthinkable…let alone the shame of violating such a private space.

Most women have some form of handbag, something uniform they will always have, but no two is ever the same. We all have the same central things keys, purse, phone but in the other items the person’s personality starts to shine through. Why do we have these things? Things you need; things you want, stuff you don’t even known how it got in there, things other people have put in there, that thing that will make or break your day, the all important thing your young child needs. The men I know think handbags are a joke, but I always have the thing we need, the tickets, the pass, the thing they don’t want to carry! Call me a romantic George Clooney fan (I am). I loved the bit in One Fine Day when Michelle Pfiffer has the most appalling day, her son misses the school trip so he has to come work with her as she pitches an idea to a client. Her work day is saved by the contents of her handbag, oh and a little by George Clooney.

I find these odd things fascinating, each thing has a story. Some have sentimental or superstitious value. Some things trace where you have been recently in your life. The list of things I carry for my daughter ‘just incase’ is enormous. That sadly is changing as she wants to make a stab at her own independence and carries her own bag which is full of things that are just as precious and private. One more ‘Mum job’ is made redundant.

When I was commuting my bag performed another role. It was my survival kit that helped me get through the day. Leaving early in the dark with food packages to eat. Emergency make up kit to help me create a presentable barrier between me and the day. My music to make my cocoon that I needed in the morning last a bit longer. I would have my tickets and change ready to stop any embarrassing fumbling for things. Sunglasses for the sun, umbrella for the rain, prepared for any eventuality. A notebook incase inspiration struck in those empty hours travelling. It usually did, helping to persuade me that this soulless job was temporary and I would do what I was meant to be doing soon. A necklace to remind me people loved me while I was out on my own and a bracelet I made to remind me of who I was. Looking back I realize all the strategies I created using my things to function and get myself through the day. I am glad that my things don’t carry that kind of weight any more.

I don’t like big bags as I don’t want to be weighed down by baggage, my own or others - the more space you have the more stuff you can put in. I do  not want a small bag that I have to fight with constantly. I don’t want a large bag with a black hole at the bottom where things disappear never to be seen again. I want pockets in  the right places, the right size for my objects. Easy access at my finger tips. A bag that feels just right. Do the bag manufactures know what I want? This is why I feel bereft when a bag is too old, broken or grubby and dies. I loose an old friend who travelled with me and had all the things I needed. Always in colours and patterns that made me smile.

What does your handbag say about you?

What things do you always have on you because you feel you need them?

What things do you have because you want them? Is there any added value to those things like sentimental or superstitious value?

Is there stuff in your bag that you don't actually want in there? Junk included?

Do you have things in your bag that describe your relationship to others?

Do you have particular things in your bag that describe different roles that you hold at the moment?

What is your favourite thing in your bag? Why is it your favourite?

Do any of the objects in your bag have any interesting stories?

Are there things that describe your weekly or daily routine?

What would you be lost without and why?

There will be updates on how the project develops. Thank you again for your contributions. Xx

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