A vintage Hawaiian bag by Lynda Sakraida. All photos courtesy Hadji Baba Bags
When the Gallery at Ward Centre closed, there were 18 artists without a place to show their work. Each of them is finding a new pathway to creativity, as well as new places to show their art.
In some cases, they are even finding new places to live. I was sad to say aloha to Roger Whitlock, who is moving to Seattle. And Cindy Conklin is now living on Whidbey Island in Washington.
Lynda Sakraida of Hadji Baba Bags is still sewing away in her house on the top of Tantalus. Her stash keeps growing and her hands keep moving with lightening speed.
And now there’s a special place to see her latest work:
I asked Lynda what we will be seeing at our show, and this is her (as always, extremely articulate) response:
“I’ve mostly done custom-order bags since the Gallery at Ward Centre closed last year: a set of six same-fabric-different-styles bridesmaid bags, several travel bags, a number of evening bags, a number of every-day bags, cell phone bags, artist carry-alls….you name it, I’ve made it. The only down side to custom bags is that the customer usually chooses the fabric…not me. I much prefer sewing with fabric that speaks to me, actually, I prefer fabrics that SCREAM to me. So that’s what I’ve been doing for this upcoming sale.
“I have such a huge kimono collection that I’ve been sewing Kimono totes…quite simple, very light-weight, easy-to-travel-with bags out of some of my favorite Kimono silks. They are purposely simple bags, so the price will be quite reasonable: most under $100 and some as low as $50.
“I then started sewing similar totes out of vintage Hawaiian fabrics. And some of those bags are made from quite collectable fabrics. Yvonne Cheng, a well-known local painter, has gifted me with some of the original fabrics she designed early in her career for several local men’s shirt stores. When another artist walked into my sewing room last week, she identified the fabrics immediately and and couldn’t believe that I was cutting them up for bags, saying she hadn’t seen any of them for decades….so they’ve become impossible to find.
A rare vintage Hawaiian print
“Each time I finish a bag, I unpile a corner of my large fabric collection (yes, it’s really way too much fabric!) and sort through the pile until a piece literally screams at me….and that’s the one I turn into a bag. The fabric itself, along with the design/color/texture, will absolutely decide what kind of a bag it will be.
“This bag below is a lovely old vintage velvet…and it wanted to be an evening bag. I spent an entire day sewing these tiny, tiny silver beads along the seams, as that’s what the bag wanted. Hand sewing is definitely NOT my favorite occupation, but my bags do know what they require.
Vintage velvet evening bag.
“I ended up liking the shape so much that I then made another exactly like the first….only out of a saved piece of fabric from Japan. And that piece, as wonderful as the print is, needed some texture, so I actually sewed on tiny little pieces of red jersey over lots of the little red squares. You will have to look hard to even see them. But, yes, the bag wanted them there.
A Japanese fabric embellished with tiny red pieces of jersey. So jazzy!
“Wendy Messier (Kim Messier, a clothing designer) recently gave me some exquisite beaded trim, and I’m in the process of adding it to a silk evening bag, which is turning out to be much more difficult than I thought. It may easily end up in the garbage can, but I hope I will finish it.
A beaded bag comes to life.
“I’m also having to braid my own gold strap to go with that bag, which is always my least favorite thing to do. I’ve started this one twice, screwed up twice, and will hope the third time will produce a strap I can live with!”
Another work in progress: gold braid. Always a perfectionist, Lynda often completes tasks she abhors, just to get the perfect detail for a bag that is calling to her.
Please join Lynda and me, along with jewelry designer Cora Yee and ceramic sculptor Jo Rowley during our one-time only sale the first weekend in November. We will all have lots of new things for you and the people on your holiday gift list!
– Paula Rath
A kimono bag in a sophisticated palette of gold and black.