When it comes to handbags, many of us immediately picture the practical; bags we carry daily that are the usual shapes and typically made from leather. And while this is the formula for many bags, there’s an entire world of novelty bags that offers an array of new materials and techniques to create true works of art.
Vlad and I had the chance to see these Blumera Bags in person, to both photograph and inspect, and clearly this brand falls into the novelty category with a focus on incredibly meticulous wood and metal work to create true pieces of art.
The wooden collection is named Roses and Nightingale and takes inspiration from Laurie Blum’s Rose and the Nightingale painting. Each of the clutches in this collection is handcrafted in Bali and a tribute to founder Mehera Blum’s mother. If you think these clutches look like a lot of time and work goes into their creation, you’d be right.
Eighty hours and four artisans are tasked to create each wooden clutch. The wood used is Sonokeeling, an exotic wood from the Indian Rosewood family, which after it’s selected is then dried and heated. The next step is sending this wood to the master box-crafter who very precisely cuts the wood by hand then buffs and polishes it to create the shape of a clutch.
After, the next artisan is given the job of carving the wood. This artisan is a Balinese Mangku, a spiritually gifted magical high priest, who then carves the wood using flat-tooled sticks dating back to ancient times. For each clutch, Mehera carefully selects a specific section of her mother’s artwork from her Rose and the Nightingale painting, so each section of flowers and birds brought to life is hand selected by Mehera.
The last step is finishing the interior of the bag with a suede and velvet lining, and finally the clutch is blessed. Wooden clutches range from $1,100 – $2,200. Discover the wood carved clutch collection here.
The brass collection is named Conference of the Birds and based off of Mehera’s mother’s Conference of the Birds painting. Each item is reimagined in carved brass, another long and skilled process that takes artisans days to complete. As these novelty bags are full brass, they are heavy and intended for special occasion use, and sure to be a conversation starter. Prices range from $1,200 to $2,200 for the brass bags.
What Blumera’s novelty bags lack in practicality (the brass bags are heavy and both don’t fit much, including many popular sizes of iPhones) is made up with painstaking artistry, one that we rarely get to see in the handbag world. There are plenty of beautiful bags, with leather working and organization that we appreciate, but few bags that I’ve seen recently have made me stop and really discover them the way these have. Each carve and design in the wood transforms it into a real masterpiece. Discover all Blumera designs here.