Bags hold much more than everyday essentials. They also hold forgotten memories and bits and bobs of your life. Ever found the tickets to the first movie you watched with your college partner in your bag after decades? Little stubs of papers from the first solo trip you took as a 22 year old, perhaps?
Today, I am going to be featuring Pure Ghee, a brand that makes the most beautiful handcrafted bags. But, first, I am going to tell you a story or four.
As an eight year old, my mother’s big handbag was a veritable treasure trove of exciting bits and bobs. It was a symbol of bring a grown up. It was also my own portable dumpster which could hold everything and keep it safe. No matter how big, it would always fit into Amma’s bag. Little pebbles from the beach, half eaten candy bars, a paper napkin with a desperately important doodle on it… they would all find their way into her bag.
Adult me is a pack rat in the handbag department. Literally EVERYTHING goes into my bag and stays there. I have found glue guns and cutting pliers that I have no memory of putting into my bag still there after weeks on various occasion. I am sure it made perfect sense to drop those things into my bag at the moment. More recently, as a toddler parent, I find my bag being invaded by duplo pieces, squelchy leaves, clods of dirt and other such toddler treasures.
Parenting has been a lot about waking up to the fact that you can’t dump your things into the handbag of the nearest adult anymore. Not only are you solely responsible for your own bag, you also have to take responsibility for fragments of shells, bits of string and toys that are smaller than your thumbnail. You don’t know what unconditional love is till you scrape sticky chocolate off the insides of your handcrafted silk tote and don’t consider trading your toddler for a crate of wine the entire time it takes to clean your bag.
I first heard of Pure Ghee Designs on social media and fell in love their work. Soon after, I got to meet Aditi, the designer behind the label, at an exhibition here in Madras and pick her brains on her creative process and what the brand stands for. Pure Ghee is a brand driven by the vision of engaging with art, craft and indigenous textiles at an everyday level, making it easily accessible to a diverse audience. When you buy a Pure Ghee bag, you are buying a piece of thoughtfully made art that gives back to the weaver, the person who handmade your bag and the innumerable other crafts people whose work Aditi tried to represent in her work. The signature tassels on every Pure Ghee bag feature a little detail from a craft tradition from little hand-hewn wooden birds to crochet flowers and a lot more. Aesthetically, they add a pop of extra colour to the bag so even if you pick a natural toned bag you still have a little piece of sunshine to take along with you.
Aditi also assured me that these bags could handle the rough the tumble of life with work, travel, child and dog. I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical about sacrificing my stunning silk bags at the altar of parenthood but I am glad I trusted her on this one. These bags look delicate but can take everyday wear brilliantly. They are sturdy (trust me, I have carried my entire house in my Pure Ghee tote), can survive candy bar accidents and look none the worse for the cleaning.
Pure Ghee also makes cloth jewellery and scarves. I particularly love their Gajra’s made of flowers fashioned from scraps fabric.
If you came here from my Instagram account, you might have seen the Pure Ghee tote and the cross body mini sling featured there on multiple occasions. In this post, I have featured the Maroon Kutch Sling (which is one of the most interesting designs they make) and the Sea Green Suvi sling (my go-to bag on most days). I have also used a handmade cloth Gajra in my hair.
Given the number of design options on that Pure Ghee has, there literally is a bag for everything. Cotton saree and flowers in your hair sort of day? There’s a bag for that. A summery dress and flip-flops? There’s a bag for that too. You need to bring your toddler, fur child and half your earthly possessions along? Take a look at their tote.