Hand Stitched Elk Hide Shoulder Bag + Fully Lined + Handwoven Strap + Natural Stone Concretion Closure

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Hand Stitched Elk Hide Shoulder Bag + Fully Lined + Handwoven Strap + Natural Stone Concretion Closure

485.00

For your wanderings and walkabouts, this functional bag is perfect for carrying ceremonial items and special finds.

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:: Journey ::

As I rummaged through my cache of deer and elk hides the other day, a piece of golden tan elk hide caught my eye.  The hide had already been the source of several favorite creations, including my own personal medicine pouch, and there were a few scraps left, including this softly rectangular one with undulating lines and a lovely grain.  I folded the piece in half and right away saw what a wonderful bag it could become.  That was the start of a journey that lasted for several days, and it led me into some unexpected places.  

This is a very sturdy and functional bag.   The elk hide it is made from is exceedingly tough* and will stand up to extensive use.  Because the hide is very shaggy on the inside, I lined it with soft, repurposed cotton-linen knit fabric, leaving the seams exposed on the inside.  Lashings of heavy natural linen thread hold the bag together very securely, and bind the fabric lining along the top edges as well. 

When it came time to make the strap, I looked everywhere for something suitable but nothing seemed quite right.  Finally, as I was staring at my linen cord, it occurred to me to actually try weaving the strap.  I have never done any weaving before, unless you count those potholders we all made back in elementary school on a plastic loom, and it took a little getting used to, but I was able to do it by using a needle to do the weft.  When I ran out of one length, I added a bead into the cord where the new length was knotted in.  It's a fairly loose weave, but the linen is nice and strong.  The ends of the strap were tightly stitched to the elk hide and will not pull free, and an assortment of luminous Czech glass beads were knotted into the extra cordage at the ends.

The closure is a remarkable piece of stone concretion, hollowed, with a richly textured inner surface.  I have kept this piece for some time, loving it but without a clue as to what I was going to do with it.  A loop of soft deer hide fastens over the stone to close the bag, and is anchored on the other side with a piece of natural raw amber, looking just as it did when it was dug from the earth.  I finished the dangling ends of the strap with stacked Czech glass and linen cord wraps (some fabric glue was used here to hold the wrappings together--they will not unravel).

I chose to ornament the bag only with sewn-on beads, which undulate up the front, echoing the undulating lines of the piece itself.  These are almost all Czech glass...I have recently acquired some wonderful new ones, and was itching to do something with them.  It was a painstaking process, as I very carefully chose each bead for its size, shape and color, making sure they harmonized with the textures and hues of the concretion.  Faux sinew--waxed nylon--was used to stitch the beads into the tough hide and they are very firmly attached.  I also added a couple of natural fossil crinoids and a few beads of raw Baltic amber to the mix.  When you take this bag out into the sunlight, you will be amazed at the beauty of these beads.

There is a secret guardian on the inside of this bag.  Securely stitched to the inner lining is a tiny Zuni fetish, an onyx rattlesnake with inlaid turquoise eyes carved by Zuni artisan Tim Lementino.  I've added offerings of shell heishe and turquoise beads to the little snake. 

Even though this is--to me--a ceremonial bag, you can certainly use it as a purse.  It can be worn over the shoulder, or across the body like a messenger bag.  I would avoid keeping sharp, pointy objects in it, but otherwise it will hold just about any of your treasures.

*I once made a pair of shoes from hide like this when I was making an Iron Age Celtic outfit for a recreation group.  They were made from single, unstitched pieces of hide, laced together with leather thongs.  Even though I walked down plenty of rock-strewn dirt roads with them, those shoes never wore out.

SIZE:  Measured along the center line of the bag, it is 7 1/2" tall and 7 1/4" wide, or 19cm x 18.5cm .  To give you an idea of its capacity, the bag is big enough to hold a grapefruit.  The strap is 39 1/2" or 1 meter long. 

CARE:  Durable, but avoid rough handling.  You could actually wash this if you needed to by soaking it gently in delicate fabric detergent.  Do not scrub or wring.  Squeeze gently between toweling to remove excess water, reshape the bag, and dry flat.  The leather will stiffen as it dries; soften it by gently manipulating it in your hands.

CARE:   Simply wipe with a soft, damp cloth to clean.  Allow the silver's patina to deepen and grow richer over time.

PRESENTATION:  I will wrap this bag for you in tissue and ribbon.  See my shop policies below for details.

++ Shipping is included in the price. ++

HAVE A QUESTION? Click on the shop policies link below for more information.  Feel free to contact me if you don't see the answer there