July 30th, 2010 / posted by paularath

Carol gets up close and personal with Lakshmi.

Carol's Hadji Baba Bag gets a blessing, courtesy of Lakshmi the elephant.

One of the delights of being a fashion writer is getting the inside story on how the creative process works. Whether a designer is creating a pair of pants, a dress, a necklace or a handbag, there is always a story behind it.

Lynda Sakraida of Tantalus is the creator of Hadji Baba Bags, named after her adorable (but naughty) pet bird. Each bag Lynda fashions is one-of-a-kind.  When she starts sewing, she doesn’t really know what shape the bag will take. She simply lets the fabric, trim and notions dictate to her as she zooms along.

Lynda is preparing for a show at the Gallery at Ward Centre, where she is one of the resident artists. Here, in her own words, is the story of how she is shaping the show. It offers interesting insights into how an artist’s mind works when she allows it to roam, like a vagabond…..

– Paula Rath

“I make Hadji Baba Bags, and I’m a Fabric Addict.  I’ve been collecting ethnic fabrics, and old ethnic fabrics, since I started making the bags.  They always seem to have so much more character than the beautiful but somewhat boring silks and tapestries that I commonly find elsewhere. 

 I have such an extensive collection of Kimono, Obi and Uchikake that I’ve done two Geisha Collection shows, and have enough to do quite a few more.  But for this year’s feature show at the Gallery at Ward Centre, I was totally drawn to my other ethnic pieces.  I couldn’t decide whether to do Indonesian, Nepalese, Indian….what to choose?  Then I decided to do the obvious:  do them all.  Make a show about exotic fabrics, fabrics from all over the world. I have sarongs, batiks, sari’s….wonderful pieces, each with a story.   My friend Barb came up with the perfect name:  Bagavond.  And we coined a definition to this new word:

 Bag-a-vond   – noun:   a unique, vagabond bag made of ethnic fabrics from exotic locales;  an independent, free-spirited woman who travels the world, always with her favorite Hadji Baba bag;  a bag that transports you to foreign fantasies. 

 Of course, I started seeing these bags as not just made out of exotic fabrics, but bags that take you to exotic places.  And I realized I wanted pictures of my bags in exotic places, one especially to use as my postcard invitation to the show. 

The bag Lynda sent to Carol.

 As it should be, I have a friend, Carol Tamanaha, living in Pondicherry, India.  She’s living there because she is an adventurous woman who says Why Not? instead of Why.  A Hadji Baba Bag type of woman if there ever was one. 

 So I made a bright red large tote bag out of a hand-woven piece from somewhere exotic and shipped it off to India.  With my fingers crossed, as the India postal system bears no resemblance to ours.  Inside the bag, I had made and enclosed a matching small coin purse, thinking it to be a bribe, on some level, either to the Gods or to the India customs people.  The tote bag made it to Carol…..the coin purse did not.  My ploy worked.

 Carol lives near the Ganesh Temple, where lives the elephant Lakshmi, whose main duty is to bless people.  She and my bag went to visit Lakshmi immediately, and the elephant seemed quite attracted to the bag, even blessing the bag itself.  She then took the bag to visit Mungalum, the old woman who lives on the street, to whom she takes food every day.  Another photo shows Carol feeding Rosie, the stray dog who lives down by the bay, another recipient of Carol’s daily generosity.

Carol and friend, Mungalum, with her Hadji Baba bag.

 Carol and a friend are making the trek to a temple in the mountains next week, where I’m sure my vision of my postcard photo will be taken.  I wish I had started earlier on this idea, as suddenly I’ve friends traveling to all sorts of exotic places.  And since I am making a rare trip to Europe in September, I will certainly make and take along a “Bagavond” myself, and take photos in all the most exotic places.  Stay tuned.”

And so we shall, Lynda!

What are they saying?
Leave a comment below.
Cora Yee
July 30th, 2010 at 8:52 am

Miss your Friday columns so much, Paula, but am happy you now have your fashion forum! XXXXX

Ray Pace
July 30th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Paula,So glad to see your new blog! You are a wonderfully creative person. We look forward to reading more.

Cevza Zerkel
July 31st, 2010 at 1:42 am

What a wonderful story about my dear friend Lynda! She is so creative…I, too, will let my creative juices flow with my semi precious bracelets already sold @ Noa Noa @ the Hilton Hawaiian Village.Delighted to hear about your forum, Paula. Keep up the good work.With warmest Aloha…

Patrice Collins
July 31st, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Thank you Paula for your info on Vagabond Bags! They are fun, unique and a great size. I look forward to more of your post “treasures” about what is out there in fashion.

August 1st, 2010 at 2:51 am

Mahalo! I hope to have lots of information about what’s out there for readers like you. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment.Paula

Mary Aiana
August 3rd, 2010 at 1:00 am

It is such a thrill to see Lynda’s creativity and marketing talents…since I’ve been a admirer, counselor, advocate and dear friend for nearly 40 years it blows me away the things she does, totally amazing…her mind never stops…and rarely does she. Lucky are those he get to enjoy her bags even in exotic places like Hilton Head Island, SC.

Frieda Bridges
October 9th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

So glad I found this website for my precious daughter, Lynda, who is always soinventive. I lost your info in the moves. Happy Birthday, love.

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