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Cats Out The Bag

Written by  {ga=slowsouthernstyle}



Cheryl's Etsy shop, Hot Tin Roof New Orleans, shares a name with Tennessee Williams' infamous play.  Her bags are perfect for the modern southern belle, even though she's a Canadian transplant.


You're obviously influenced by the south and I love your shop's name. How does New Orleans make its way into your designs?
 
 I came up with the name before I moved here. I was still working in Toronto and travelling to New Orleans whenever I could. The name really described a certain element of the lifestyle here, a certain edgy existence. Most of the people I was meeting at that time not only lived life on the edge but embraced it; in fact, they chose it over more comfortable ways of life.
 
You've worked in theater, movies, and television and have a degree in fine arts. How does your background effect your handbag line?
 
I think it affects all of the work that I do profoundly, for better or for worse.  I've been conditioned to think architecturally and mechanically. This is only one way to think and really, it’s kind of stuck in the post-modern, form-follows-function genre.  I am truly happiest when I can make something that is visually appealing but also practical. There is a certain poetry in that for me.  Secondly, I think a sound background in Liberal Arts gives one an inkling of movements in history, certainly a sense of the evolution of style and the link that exists between the way we think and the way we dress ourselves.

Clutch Purse HARLEQUIN Domino Harlequin clutch purse
 
You mentioned to me that you've slowed down your work load to focus on your craft. Was this something you've been trying to do for a while?
 
Certainly it’s been a fantasy! I’ve worked creatively all my life but always for someone else. Now it’s on me! Thanks to entities like Etsy, online boutiques and blogs like this one, craft has become a viable way of life for a lot of talented people. That having been said, I’ve never worked harder in my life!

Reversible Mini Tote Bag MELANIE Stripe Reversible mini tote
 
What other hobbies do you enjoy when you're not designing?
 
This is going to sound crazy but…I really love to sew. My dear friend Laura is a costume designer, the brains behind “Royal Rags” in the French Quarter. She generously lets me sew for her. She does all the design and cutting and I am free to just sit and joyfully sew along without a care in the world! Bliss. I am also a pathological knitter and am going to add some little knitted items in luxury yarns to my shop this fall. I love classic films. I am completely devoted to Turner Classic Movies (Miss Laura calls it “the costume channel).  It’s on in the workroom all day and all night.

Carpet Bag LEAH Amy Butler Nigella Primrose Pewter Primrose Pewter carpet bag
 
Define southern style
 
Ooooh! What a vexed question!  As a Canadian, I’m not even sure I’m qualified to answer but I do have a few observations. There is an element of gentility to southern style, a sort of antique gentility that comes from being unabashedly feminine, even when it comes to t-shirts and jeans.
 
I think glamour is still very much alive here in New Orleans and the mystery that creates glamour. Though we schlep around in shorts and flip flops almost all year-round, there is hardly a closet in New Orleans that doesn't contain at least one feather boa and a pair of elbow length gloves!  I find autumn in New Orleansvery puzzling, though. The weather is still scorching hot, yet we should have put away all of our cool fluttery florals and white clothing and shoes.

Pick up your own bag at Hot Tin Roof New Orleans.
Last modified on Wednesday, 19 January 2011
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