Native American handcrafted bag

CoachCruiser

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Jun 9, 2011
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Hi! Thought I'd post this because I've seen this bag since the beginning of last summer, each time I visited the White Mountains of New Hampshire...a little shop called Spruce Hurricane on Main Street in North Conway carried about 4 or 5 of these, all handmade by a Native American woman whose husband is a hunter. She makes her bags out of deerskin and looks for beads and brooches at antique stores in the area.

I fell in love with the bags, all different colors and some with horses, elephants, etc on them, each one completely unique, and finally decided to buy this black one yesterday. The bag is deerskin, as mentioned, but the front is painted cowhide hair.

Thanks for letting me share this! :smile: I think it's a very special piece and a work of art!!!
 

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lovieluvslux

That bag is fine!
O.G.
Oct 17, 2010
2,160
1,178
Hi! Thought I'd post this because I've seen this bag since the beginning of last summer, each time I visited the White Mountains of New Hampshire...a little shop called Spruce Hurricane on Main Street in North Conway carried about 4 or 5 of these, all handmade by a Native American woman whose husband is a hunter. She makes her bags out of deerskin and looks for beads and brooches at antique stores in the area.

I fell in love with the bags, all different colors and some with horses, elephants, etc on them, each one completely unique, and finally decided to buy this black one yesterday. The bag is deerskin, as mentioned, but the front is painted cowhide hair.

Thanks for letting me share this! :smile: I think it's a very special piece and a work of art!!!
Beautiful, love the leather and fringe (done right) and truly unique-- most import is they symbolism/design and craft work.
 

CoachCruiser

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Jun 9, 2011
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Thank you so much, ladies! :smile: I'm so excited that I took the plunge and bought one, since I've been admiring them since July. They're all one of a kind and totally different; she makes about 5 for the store, only about every 6 months. Yes, it is from her husband's hunted deer. The shop owners stressed that the craftswoman ensures that all parts of the animal(s) are used in some way; nothing is wasted or killed for the sole purpose of adding fur to one of her bags, for example. (That made me feel much better, actually.) I've asked that the shop contact me with her full name (her first name is Susan) and email address so that I can express admiration for her work. If I find out anything else, I'll keep you posted. Thank you again for your kind words! This bag is a very "wild" look even for me, for lack of a better word, and I carry all kinds of bags - but I'm at the age (37) where I've realized that you only live once; life is too precious and short to wear boring things! :biggrin:
 

mkpurselover

More Kolor Purses!
Jul 13, 2013
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North of Seattle, Washington
Hi! Thought I'd post this because I've seen this bag since the beginning of last summer, each time I visited the White Mountains of New Hampshire...a little shop called Spruce Hurricane on Main Street in North Conway carried about 4 or 5 of these, all handmade by a Native American woman whose husband is a hunter. She makes her bags out of deerskin and looks for beads and brooches at antique stores in the area.

I fell in love with the bags, all different colors and some with horses, elephants, etc on them, each one completely unique, and finally decided to buy this black one yesterday. The bag is deerskin, as mentioned, but the front is painted cowhide hair.

Thanks for letting me share this! :smile: I think it's a very special piece and a work of art!!!
This is a real work of art, and great to hear that the Native American tradition of using the whole animal is still around. Would love to see one in colors (I'm a color nut).
 

CoachCruiser

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Jun 9, 2011
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Thought I'd attach some more pics; I wore this lovely bag to work today and kept the rest of my outfit very simple - black with a colorblocked tan and black sweater. (I'd do mod shots, but I'm alone and inept at taking mods by myself!).....these pics capture how pretty the bag is...I love it!!!! :smile:

I was wrong about the maker's name - it's Gina, not Susan. Hoping to hear back more from the store, Spruce Hurricane, within the next few days.

There were other colors - mostly neutrals, in saddle or darker browns, and one gorgeous teal color that really tempted me -- but I loved the elephant theme on this one. Not all of them had the gorgeous animal print on the front - some were plain leather - and this one really stood out to me. Had to get it and knew I'd get the most use out of this one in particular. Hard choice, though!!!
 

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ladysarah

O.G.
Jul 17, 2008
7,699
7,141
ladysarahinlondon
Thought I'd attach some more pics; I wore this lovely bag to work today and kept the rest of my outfit very simple - black with a colorblocked tan and black sweater. (I'd do mod shots, but I'm alone and inept at taking mods by myself!).....these pics capture how pretty the bag is...I love it!!!! :smile:

I was wrong about the maker's name - it's Gina, not Susan. Hoping to hear back more from the store, Spruce Hurricane, within the next few days.

There were other colors - mostly neutrals, in saddle or darker browns, and one gorgeous teal color that really tempted me -- but I loved the elephant theme on this one. Not all of them had the gorgeous animal print on the front - some were plain leather - and this one really stood out to me. Had to get it and knew I'd get the most use out of this one in particular. Hard choice, though!!!
This is truly special! Thank you for posting extra photos and if you get a chance please post the details of the place they are made. :cool: and any photos of the other designs.
 

CoachCruiser

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Jun 9, 2011
4,493
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This is truly special! Thank you for posting extra photos and if you get a chance please post the details of the place they are made. :cool: and any photos of the other designs.
I will! Actually, the craftswoman called and left me a message yesterday and I'm going to call her back today! So excited - I'm trying to limit the questions I have because I don't want to inundate her with inquiries, but I'm just so fascinated by this bag - and by anyone who creates such special pieces like this. I'll tell you more once I've spoken with her!
 

CoachCruiser

Member
Jun 9, 2011
4,493
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MA
Just thought I'd update this in case anyone is interested. Yesterday, I chatted via phone with Gina, the craftswoman who makes these beautiful bags. We talked for about 25 minutes and she was just lovely! She lives in central NH, near the Lakes Region, and she told me she's been making these bags for about 14 or 15 years. I asked her how long it takes her to make a bag, on average, and she said that she recently timed out the labor involved with a bag that "had no mistakes," and that it took her about 72 hours....but usually, she pointed out, she creates a bag and then if she doesn't like the way the embellishments (beads, etc) look on the leather, she'll take them apart, restring new ones on, etc., until it ends up how she wants it.

She stressed that everything is made by her own hands -- nothing is done by machine...and she started because she wasn't really thrilled with what she saw out there for handbags. She spent many years living in Texas, and saw how animals were treated once they were killed -- either by other animals or men/women -- that she was upset how they were just left in the fields to be eaten by other animals. While she first felt guilty about using leather and fur for her bags, she felt that creating these purses was the best way to honor the animals' lives...in addition to making something that she would like to use herself. She gave early ones away to friends after practicing with different patterns/shapes/styles with cloth.

...she also expressed that she'd always had horses growing up and was always around leather saddles, etc -- so she developed a love for the smell of leather and leather products early on in life.

Her business relationship with Spruce Hurricane (the store in North Conway that sells her work) happened by complete accident. She said she was wearing one of her bags and the owner was so intrigued when she found out that she had made it herself, and begged her to make some for her shop! Gina was so delighted and thrilled that someone actually wanted to sell her things.

On average, she makes about 9 handbags each year, usually during colder winter and early spring months, since she also works during the day. While she used to take pictures of her bags, she doesn't anymore...and she only keeps the ones that "aren't perfect" for her own use.

She was so lovely and it was very exciting to get a chance to talk with her. I expressed admiration for her work a few times and she was so pleased, saying, "I'm so glad -- because I really do make these bags with a lot of love -- there is so much love that goes into my work -- and it's so nice to hear your appreciation!"

Now that, my tpf friends, is a conversation that a woman can't have with a high-end designer. She may only sell her bags through Spruce Hurricane (or by chance, if women are serious after they approach her and get her number after seeing her wear her own handbags), but this woman has serious talent. This won't be the last bag that I purchase from her!