If there’s one thing I probably don’t need more of and yet lately I can’t help but keep buying, it’s handbags. Specifically, beautiful summery-feeling wicker and woven bags. I don’t know whether it’s because the delay in our due spring weather is leaving me feeling frustrated to switch up my wardrobe, or whether I’m just so excited for warmer weather that I’m happy-buying items ready for it, but either way, here we are, my credit card and I, a little click-happy, a little over eager, and proud owners of some very cute new handbags. Today we’ll be looking at this Ellen and James beauty.
All Ellen and James bags are ethically handmade in East Bali, offering a variety of woven basket bag shapes made of the Ata or Ati grass, reeds grown in Bali and other islands. Each design is created with local artisans, whose craftsmanship has been passed down through the generations.
After each bag is made it’s boiled in water for a day, then left in the sun to dry for another day. The bags are then ‘smoked’ over coconut husks to add strength and durability to the finish. That smoking process leaves a slight smokey scent on the bags, but it disappears over a short period of time. It takes a week from start to finish for each bag to be made, and when you see the intricacy and quality of the product in person that time frame doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
I chose the Half Moon Basket bag out of all of their beautiful designs and it’s perfect. Each bag has a Batik lining which may vary in selection over time, but in my bag it’s a lovely orange and grey pattern. The bag closes with a woven Ata clip and has sturdy rounded woven handles. There’s room enough for all the essentials, even including my bulky wallet.
All items are made to order so there’s a production time of 5 days before shipping. As Ellen & James are based out of Bali the shipping isn’t cheap, handled by DHL or EMS, but it is fast and tracked. It’s possible you may receive a customs notice once it enters your country depending on your import tax laws.