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Bags: The Craft of the Carrying Companion

Everyone who loves bags has got to see this exhibition at the Bilston Craft Gallery which is running until the 9th of March. I personally love bags- I know that seems a typical female thing to say, but I can also say I hate shoes and I especially hate shoe shopping. It drives me nuts! So, I’m not too atypical I hope!

Anyhoo, Bilston Craft Gallery, if you didn’t already know, is part of the museums, galleries and archives of Wolverhampton. The gallery focuses on showcasing contemporary craft exhibitions and displays of historic items created by skilled makers.

“Bilston Craft Gallery’s lively programme of changing exhibitions features the best of contemporary ceramics, glass, jewellery, textiles, metal, woodwork and more….Explore 300 years of craft through fine historic examples of applied arts produced in the Black Country in our Craftsense gallery, including the famous Bilston enamels. Compare and contrast these with exciting new works by some of the UK’s leading contemporary craft makers – many of which you can touch!”

Bilston Craft Gallery

Sounds fab to me! So, the new exhibition entitled ‘Bags: the craft of the carrying companion’ really excites me.

This exhibition explores how bags are highly personal and functional companions that contain some of our most precious and necessary possessions.  Today the handbag is one of the most celebrated products of branded design and retail.

The gallery presents the diversity of approaches contemporary craftspeople have taken to bags and accessory cases – objects where design, skilled manufacture and aesthetics meet.

Looking at some of the examples on show, the bag itself becomes an object of art:

Crafted Fashion


Trunk Cases by Sarah Williams

On show will be Sarah Williams’, beautifully made cases with cleverly designed organising compartments (see above), and Jo Cope’s conceptual carriers that explore the notion of the bag as an extension of the self, including her ‘Clearly A Bag’ installation piece.

Jo Cope is quite famous for her ‘Square Bag’ design which she unveiled in Paris.

Jo’s interest is in challenging the boundaries between art and design and the presentation of original and challenging fashion based works.

Her latest design, ‘Square Bag’, is a bag created from a purest square which transforms into a classic shopper bag and has a beautiful clean and sculptural aesthetic.

Also featured in the exhibition are Lisa Farmer’s  stylised leather ‘containers’ inspired by living creatures:

The amazing work of Lisa Farmer.

Lisa explores the boundaries between fashion, design and art, to create these wonderful bags that arouse curiosity.

I really love this exhibition and how it allows us to explore the bag as an accessory AND a form of art. I feel that the beauty and craftsmanship of these objects can be appreciated, and even more so within a gallery environment.


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4 thoughts on “Bags: The Craft of the Carrying Companion

  1. Thanks for sharing…. Sound like a good day out!

  2. Very cool! I never thought of luggage as art but I’m rethinking that now.

    I’m wondering about the red bag that’s shaped like a “U” upside down. How the heck do you make something like that and what do you store in it?

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