Italic is the ninth in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople, designers, and small companies across the country who share my love of handcrafted quality, and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful, useful and delicious products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking, dining, and entertaining. They’re using skills, techniques, and materials that might otherwise be lost in our era of mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you. Each feature will be paired with a giveaway to give you the chance to experience their work for yourselves. I’ll be doing these features every other Sunday for the foreseeable future, so be sure to check back, and enjoy!
Paper or plastic? Meet Colin Evan Pritchett from Portland Oregon, he hopes to convince you that you don’t need either. Colin is a graphic designer by training, who turned his talents to designing a line of waxed canvas bags that are one of the most clever ways to save the planet I’ve seen yet. His collection includes bags of all shapes and sizes to hold just about everything you need to carry on a daily basis, from groceries to wine bottles, to your working lunch. Colin’s bags have a wonderful tactile quality and a minimalist design that sets them apart from any I’ve seen before. They are functional, beautiful, and if you live in Los Angeles like I do, necessary. Plastic bags are being banned in more and more cities across the country, and we all need to start putting together an arsenal of reusable solutions to our daily toting. And if Colin has anything to say about it, we’ll all look super chic while we’re at it. I’m thrilled that Italic is giving away one of their market bags to one of you this week, read on…
Like so many artisans, Colin got hooked early on the thrill of making ‘things’. “Working as a graphic designer was great, but it also felt like something was missing. As much as I loved graphics, nothing beat the feeling of creating a physical object with my own two hands. After some time as a furniture maker, I decided I needed an outlet where I could more easily produce things and get them into the hands of customers. As soon as I experimented with an Etsy shop and more consumer-friendly products, everything seemed to fall into place.”
In this case Colin has taken his inspiration from the humble paper bag and reinvents it, line for line, in sturdy cotton canvas. Just one of his reusable bags can replace countless plastic and paper equivalents that would pile up in our dumps and landfills. He sews each bag by hand himself and then coats them with a layer of paraffin and all natural beeswax which makes them water resistant and wipeable. The waxing also creates a surface that gets better as it ages, and each bag will have it’s own unique ‘fingerprint’ of crackles across the surface. They have a simple, utilitarian beauty that makes them a pleasure to use. You can see his entire collection of bags in his Etsy store, here.
This idea of celebrating the things we use (and eat!) on a daily basis and recreating them from the ground up is a theme of this series, and this blog, as well. Colin says “I reject the notion that just because something is utilitarian it can’t also be aesthetically pleasing. If anything, the products we use most should be the ones we enjoy using the most. On the other hand, I also believe in simplicity and living with less. In our quest to make things better and constantly improve design we sometimes clog our lives with excess. I strive to produce things that have been stripped down to their most basic and beautiful qualities.”
The sturdy waxed bags can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, but not laundered. Colin also sells non-waxed canvas bags that can be put right into the wash. The bags are available in a bunch of colors: Black, Caramel, Grey, Natural Canvas, Navy, Moss Green, and Burgundy, and Colin will do special orders if you want to create your own unique bag.
All of us have to make some pretty big changes in our behavior if we want to preserve our environment and Italic Home has given us such an easy way to do our part. For those of you, like me, who like to tote your groceries on your shoulder, Colin makes a long handled version and he’ll even do custom embroidery! I love the idea of giving newlyweds a set of monogrammed market bags. (I’ve thinking a set of navy waxed market bags with off-white embroidery) Now that’s memorable gift!
I’d love to know what solutions you all have found to replace the countless plastic and paper bags we accumulate every day. In the days before Los Angeles banned them, I was shocked at how many plastic bags I could come home with from a single grocery store visit. Do you own and use reusuable grocery bags, and why or why not?
Italic is generously giving away one of their waxed canvas market bags to one lucky reader!
To enter, please visit Italic’s Etsy store, HERE, and leave a comment below…you have until Friday the 22nd to enter, and good luck!
(Giveaway ends Friday May 22nd)
*I use Random.org to pick the winner, and will announce it here on Saturday. I am not compensated in any way for these posts.
~ The winner of the giveaway is Victoria Mcauliffe — congratulations Victoria! ~