Brown paper bags

brown paper bag in vintage photo
I have had this little photo for a long time. The cheery lady is no relation to me. Yet I love the picture. I was given it by my eldest brother (Mr ‘found photo’ himself) in the heyday of my paper bag collecting.

Mercifully that bag collection has dwindled or been digitised. It mostly consisted of old brown paper and string shopping bags and new, shiny graphic design-y carrier bags. Nice contrasts. I was very fond of a grey Miu Miu bubble wrap carrier bag. But really, once it had gone, it had gone. Most things I collect nowadays fit into an A4 sleeve and get filed away. The only exceptions are some old London shop-related paper bags that I can’t resist: Habitat, Liberty, DH Evans, Jaeger or Selfridges.

Otherwise, I seem to have entered a slightly surreal post modernist twilight zone where I am happier to have a photo of a thing than the thing itself. Obviously a vintage photo is best. I still like a smidgen of provenance. At one point I had thought to collect pictures of brown paper shopping bags in situ, as it were. Like this one. But they’re very hard to find.

Pencilled on the back of this photo is ‘Aunty goes to market’. She certainly does. It looks like she is wearing a proper Burberry car coat (with buckled cuffs, no less) to go with that very smart car. A rather grand house is peeping out of the background.

And my, what a hat, shoes, scarf and smile!


Emma V

Jane Audas – you are a complete legend. I was reading a very interesting article in Selvedge today, which I felt was very pertinent to some current thinking/wonderings in my life and I looked down to see who wrote it and jumped up and down, saying ridiculously ‘It’s Jane, it’s Jane’. I now realise that I have read many very good articles by you. Frankly being published in Selvedge is enough … but I am so thrilled to see your excellent work. Much love to you, Emma x

shelf appeal

Emma – wow, long time no gossip! So nice to hear from you and rather darn chuffed you liked the article before you realised I wrote it. Can’t ask for a better compliment.

Sarah James

Hi Jane!
We’re in Selvedge together. Couple of old ******’s at this milarky. Wrote a bit about weaving(!) and the words are on a hessian background that you can’t read, a la Selvedge…..worthy? moi? I’m on the band wagon re:madebyhandonline. All going fine. Up in London April 8/9th. Can we meet up and some point please. Speak please x


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