Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bags Under My Eyes

by Drew Martin

In my late twenties I had a horrible falling out with my veganism and I rebounded by flirting with leather products. I bought a leather jacket a couple hours before I flew away from Eastern Europe and two pairs of leather pants shortly after arriving in America. I do not know what I was thinking. Perhaps it was a kind of sacrificial ritual or a revenge on myself in some bizarre way. Or maybe it was just a hormonal blast, ending a reckless past. How does a former vegan deal with this? You justify it by telling yourself that the good native Americans relied on hides for clothing, bedding and shelter.

Once such things are in your possession, however, there arises another dilemma. To throw out these items would be wasteful so I thought I would make a project out of one of the pairs of pants. I have a bag problem. I need a handy bag but I don't want anything too big; just large enough to carry some food, a newspaper, a book and perhaps a my slim netbook. That leaves me considering a line of man purses (murses), which are way too weird for me because I am already peculiar enough looking.

I cut up the less expensive and thicker leather pants (by Gap) and used a paper retailer's bag, which is the perfect size, as my pattern. Then I glued together my form with Bish's Original Tear Mender: by far the best fabric and leather adhesive I have every used. It looks like watered down Elmer's Glue but it instantly binds materials and any excess easily rubs off.

There is a Russian cobbler I know, a real leather craftsman, who is down the street from me. Last Friday, I took my bag to him at his shoe and watch repair store in the Village and asked him to sew the edges and rivet the corners and handles. I also made a woman's bag from the upper part of the pants and requested that he finish off the stitches for me as well because he has the heavy-duty sewing machines.

I went to pick up both bags today and was shocked. I had envisioned my murse turning out manly and rugged with his final touches but it was way too feminine, which two ladies quickly and unapologetically told me.

At first I felt defeated, but in the end, I realized I had created two unique bags, which simply were not for me. I added one of my belts, a reddish one with a brass buckle, to the one with my 32" waist for the opening. As for my murse, I am determined to keep tinkering until I make the perfect tote, which I can proudly walk down the street with.