Bag + Bullet Journal

One of the wonderful things about being a designer-maker is creating bags with unique and useful details—something unexpected, something just a little bit special.

My sister-in-law started the new year with a resolution to use a bullet journal. Check out the bullet journal website to read more about this “analog method for the digital age”: .  The idea behind the bullet journal is having one place, one notebook to put all sorts of things—a calendar, tasks, ideas, notes, sketches—and designing it specifically to suit your needs. I love this. It’s similar to the way I think when I’m designing a bag. What is necessary? What is aesthetically pleasing? What might the user want? What details will make it functional? Timeless?

When I made a new bag for my sister-in-law, I thought about pockets. She loves the vintage grain sacks I’m working with, and, honestly, they’re a bit analog in a digital age. I designed a bag with three big pockets on the exterior. On the front are two pockets large enough for her Leuchtturm journal and a supply of pens, pencils, and rolls of decorative washi tape. On the other side is a larger pocket for papers, gloves, even a tablet. The crossbody style is comfortable, and it’s so easy to reach into the roomy interior and grab keys or a wallet. It’s the perfect bag for her new year, new needs.

Last summer, a customer came to my booth at the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market. She pulled an older fabric tote from her purse. “Here,” she said with a smile, “this is the perfect bag. Take it. Take it apart. I’d love something similar.” And so I did. I deconstructed the bag to understand what made it work—and work for her. As I began designing new bags for the spring, I thought about her favorite tote, and it helped me refine a handbag I’ve named the Palais-Royal. I’ll write more about it in a future post.

The famous Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier wrote about design in architecture, but his words also apply to design generally:  Créer une architecture, c'est mettre de l'ordre. Mettre quoi dans l'ordre? Fonction et objets. To create architecture is to put in order. Put what in order? Function and objects.