new bags from swarm

I don’t know if everyone does this, but when I travel I like to imagine what I would wear and decorate with if I lived in that town. My sense of style has always been strongly influenced by geographic location, and living in Brooklyn has definitely affected the way I dress. Last week I was in California to watch my cousin graduate from the Defense Language Institute and I spent some time with my family between Monterey and San Francisco. Everyone was so laid back and breezy and California, I found myself wanting to wear long skirts and a lot more color. Pretty much everything I own and wear in New York is black or grey, so to find myself wanting to wear color again was a surprise. These new bags from Leslie at Swarm are the perfect example of what I like to call ‘California Grace’. For some reason I only stick to black or small black and white geometric prints here, but this sucker has “breezy day walking around a beach town” written all over it for me. Made from vintage oil paintings sourced in markets across Holland and Belgium, these new fold-over bags from Leslie have enough room for all your office work- or just stuffing with everyday necessities. Each one is unique and one-of-a-kind so click here to check them out and order before they’re gone. xo, grace


These are beautiful! I love that she is giving new life to artwork that may have otherwise been forgotten.


Very cool. I am definitely with you on the “geographic, dressing/decorating” philosophy. I live in Fl.(love the tropics!) but now that hubby is retiring early we’ll spend months at our place in the NC mountains. I’m not sure you could get further apart on the decorating spectrum. Too bad there is always a budget involved!!!!


Painterly and beautiful! I especially love the wave tote. The idea is priceless! I love upcycling and turning the old and forgotten into new and appreciated. Truly inspirational!


Shoot! I’ll never paint over another painting again! Great idea to make bags out of them. Thanks!

Melissa Kojima

How fun that you felt so colorful in California, Grace. Yeah, it can have that affect on you—that’s where I live in West L.A. These bags do seem to have that casual, colorful California style. Do you know if they were ever sold at Anthropologie? They look familiar to me. Love that they’re up-cycled from old oil paintings on canvas!

Melissa Kojima

To answer my own, question, yes, these bag were sold at Anthropologie in Fall 2010. I just found my catalog that has them in them (page 29 of the November 2010 catalog)!


These bags look stunning and perfectly fitted to my craving of a leather strapped canvas bag.
But as a student of conversation and restoration the destruction of old paintings (just because they’re not museum-worthy) for the satisfaction of a fashion-appetite, that goes as quickly as it came, makes me super-sad.

Grace Bonney


leslie has addressed this a lot online, but paintings she finds for projects like this are often from dumpsters and sidewalks across europe. i really love when something that was bound to be destroyed gets a new life as something that will be appreciated every day.



If the poor paintings died quickly… ;)
I am not against upcycling things that were thrown away. I would only be against the searching-fleamarkets-for-cheap-paintings-to-be-cut-in-pieces-way of getting new material for these beautiful bags. What idiots throw such colorful pictures to the trash anyway?
but thanks for answering my concerns. :)

btw I meant conservation not conversation ;)


I can always tell your posts without even looking by the sheer number of I’s, me’s, my’s, myself’s, mine’s, etc. I guess narcissism is par for the course when you’re a professional blogger. I count 17 in this one. Geez. And it’s supposed to be about bags.

Grace Bonney

Argh- there are so many other blogs you could read. I hope you find a nice one.

Also, why do you feel the need to make up a fake name when your IP matches pages and pages of the same person’s comments and email address? I always think it’s odd that people feel the need to hide behind anonymity when saying something negative. Just use your real name and own your thoughts and comments.