Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx is back today with Pansy Maiden. Laura Collins designs the purses and bags found at Pansy Maiden with the environment and a minimalist aesthetic in mind. Her designs, which are modern and functional, are made with vegan materials free of harmful chemicals. Finding fans from the likes of Alicia Silverstone to Ladies Home Journal, we’re sure you’ll grow fond of Laura’s designs, too.
1. Please introduce yourself and your work to IndieFixx readers. What is Pansy Maiden and how did it begin?
Pansy Maiden, named after my grandmother, is my handmade bag company. I design and construct each bag in my home studio using all-natural, sustainable, durable, vegan materials. I started out making bags when I was in college because I just could never find a bag that encompassed everything I was looking for. I taught myself to handsew bags using embroidered denim shirts and vintage embellishments. My bags received many compliments from friends and strangers alike, but I really didn’t have the patience to hand sew.
Fast forward half a decade later. I had been working a passionless, dead-end job in an office for a couple of years, I was just about to turn 30, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to earn a living doing something creative and something that was completely mine. Around this time, my mom bought me a sewing machine as a gift. I thought back to those bags I had hand sewed in college and decided to see how handy I was with a machine. I made some bags for friends, they liked them & I enjoyed the process tremendously, and Pansy Maiden was born.
2. On your blog you have a regular feature called “Sustainable Saturday” where you feature environmentally friendly products and designs. What sustainable product has especially tickled your fancy lately?
This is a difficult question for me to answer because I see so many great environmentally friendly products these days, which is so wonderful. I like to support small, handmade, sustainable enterprises like my own whenever I can, so I think I’ll mention a company I have a personal connection. 2ReVert makes amazing jewelry out of reclaimed skateboards AND they use a nontoxic, vegan gloss to protect their products.
They were recently featured on ecouterre and I was then reminded that I need to purchase a necklace from them. Or earrings. Or both! I had planned to do so when I bought my future husband’s engagement ring from them. I think it’s too cool that they make old skateboards that were doomed to certain death in a landfill, into unique accessories for men and women. Love 2ReVert!
3. What are your latest favorites in the blogosphere?
4. On the Pansy Maiden website, you reveal your love for music. You find so much inspiration from music that you even name the bags you design after song titles and lyrics. Please share with us what you have you been listening to lately in the Pansy Maiden studio.
I love this question! To keep me moving and motivated, I’ve been playing music I can move and sing to—there’s been a lot of Destiny’s Child, Justin Timberlake, Otis Redding, The Gossip, Le Tigre, 1980’s Madonna and Michael Jackson, Monsters of Folk, The Beatles, Of Montreal, Jenny Lewis, Bill Withers, Journey, Those Darlins’, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lykki Li…Whew! Anything to keep me on task and working. I’m excited for the new Charlotte Gainsbourg album to come out this month. She’s collaborating with Beck, so that could be interesting.
5. Besides music, where else do you find inspiration for new designs?
Basically, I just keep my eyes and ears open. Maybe one day I’m walking behind a woman eyeing her purse and thinking, “Hmm…I really like this about her bag…” I’ll store that away. And then perhaps another time, I’ll see the latest Anthropologie catalogue and see some small detail of a dress I really like and store that away. Somehow, maybe these two things I stored away will become a new design.
6. What’s in store for Pansy Maiden for 2010?
Two additions to the Pansy Maiden family will be making their debuts this coming Spring. One is my new girl’s line of bags called, “A-durable.” My “A-durable” line will feature smaller, little girl versions of my most popular bags so that mom and daughter can match while being kind to the environment together! The bags will be sold in pairs and separately. I’ve been working on the “A-durable” line idea for a while now so I’m very excited to see it come to fruition. I am also working with a couple of my illustrator friends to develop a few Pansy Maiden exclusive patterns to be printed on organic canvas fabric. This year I have worked solely with solid color fabric so the opportunity to make some of my bags with patterned fabric that my friends have designed sounds really fresh and fun. Also, keep your eyes open for a new design or two.