The Story of the Bags

August 25, 2016

If you have stopped by the Co-op table at a local event, or you check our Facebook page, you might have seen someone holding a canvas shopping bag with our logo. Let me tell you the story of the bags.

Back in the late 1970’s I was a grad student living in Ann Arbor, MI, and working for a screen printing company called Ascott. It still exists. One of the products we made was canvas aprons. After they were cut out, there was always a square of waste fabric. “That’s a shame to not use that for something,” I thought. So I asked if I could have the waste and was granted my wish for about 50 pieces.

Former art student that I was, I used a drawing of my college roommate’s plant from an art class and screen printed it on the fabric, planning to sew them into pillows and sell them.

Life intervened. The printed fabric was put into a box. I got married and had kids. We moved from state to state, but I’m a quilter, so no fabric over 2 square inches ever gets thrown out. Enter the 21st century and more years passed, and I am now on the board of Electric City Food Cooperative! We’re looking for things to give to our new members that will get our name out there.

Michael Bisaillon had some great looking T-shirts printed up by Printz and Patterns in Schenectady. Thinking about screen printing made me remember those printed squares of fabric stowed away. We could add our logo and make them into bags!

Waste not want not. We had them printed and I agreed to sew them. 40 odd year old fabric sewed into bags by this 60 odd year old woman down in her basement. But there’s more! If you become a member (soon, because there are only a few left) you might notice that the thread colors are not all identical. My mother was a saver, too, and when she passed away, I got the contents of her sewing room including thread from the 1960s and maybe earlier. One of those bags is sewn from thread left over from a blouse my mom helped me sew in 1964.

So– Renew, Reuse, Recycle, and help us get those bags out in the light of day as your grocery bag by becoming a member today.

Robin Hary Schnell (My name’s on the bag.)

Photo on 6-17-16 bag Photo on 8-25-16 bag