Corvid bag, pouch, applique and bead applique, by Mary Warner, 2017.

Slow Art: Corvid Bag

I completed another slow art piece this past week.

Years and years ago I was inspired by the Ojibwe bandolier bags in my museum’s collection to make a bag that was roughly the same shape, featuring a large square pouch and wide shoulder strap. The feature of bandolier bags that makes them so incredibly beautiful is the bead applique, which covers practically the entire pouch and strap. This makes for a very heavy bag, but the glass beads give them a richness and texture that are irresistable.

Having made a bead-encrusted needle case prior to starting my bag, I knew I wouldn’t have the patience to completely cover the bag in beads. Instead, I used needle-turn applique on fabric for my primary design and accented the piece with beads.

I love corvids, ravens and crows, so chose as my focal point a crow. At least I think it was a crow. It’s been so long, I may have used a raven. Rather than figure out which one I put on my bag, I’ll just use the term “corvid” and skip the guessing.

Here it is, my Corvid Bag, a project that was years in the making.

Corvid bag, applique and bead applique, bag structure inspired by Ojibwe bandolier bags, by Mary Warner, 2017. Note, corvids (crows & ravens) do not have orange beaks, so I've used artistic license on this.
Corvid bag, applique and bead applique, bag structure inspired by Ojibwe bandolier bags, by Mary Warner, 2017. Note, corvids (crows & ravens) do not have orange beaks, so I’ve used artistic license on this.

 

Corvid bag, pouch, applique and bead applique, by Mary Warner, 2017.
Corvid bag, pouch, applique and bead applique, by Mary Warner, 2017.

 

Corvid bag, pouch detail, applique and bead applique, by Mary Warner, 2017.
Corvid bag, pouch detail, applique and bead applique, by Mary Warner, 2017.

If you look closely at Ojibwe bandolier bags, you’ll see that the shoulder straps are not typically identical. They are different, but complement each other so well that it’s easy to miss that they don’t match. I used this idea in my strap.

Yes, I put ticks on my bag, which are a food source for corvids. It was an accident of design while I was working on the piece. I’m pretty sure ticks don’t feature heavily in many people’s art work.

Corvid bag, ticks to feed the corvid, detail of shoulder strap, by Mary Warner, 2017.
Corvid bag, ticks to feed the corvid, detail of shoulder strap, by Mary Warner, 2017.

 

Corvid bag, leaves, detail of shoulder strap, by Mary Warner, 2017.
Corvid bag, leaves, detail of shoulder strap, by Mary Warner, 2017.

In case you’re curious about what the back of the bag looks like, here it is.

Corvid bag, back, by Mary Warner, 2017.
Corvid bag, back, by Mary Warner, 2017.

 

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