Wire handbag—and perfumes I wore while making it

Things have slowed down considerably for me since a stressful beginning of the month, and when a friend asked me if I’d done any (art) projects lately, I sheepishly replied, “No—I’ve been lazy”… and then was promptly inspired to have another go at making a wire purse! So I set about making the longest and thickest Viking knit I’ve ever made while binge-watching old British sitcoms (I think I’ve seen all the good ones from the ’70s, so am creeping into the ’80s and ’90s now—The Bounder [1982-1983] starring Peter Bowles is alright, as is No Job for a Lady [1990-1992] starring Penelope Keith as a female Labour MP, which is reminiscent of but not as good as, in my opinion, Yes, Minister [1980-1984] and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister [1986-1987] starring Paul Eddington, both of which I’ve watched twice now over the years).

This time, I wanted to make a bigger purse that would hold my oversized phone.

I went to 2 art supply stores and 2 hardware stores and none of them carried the aluminum wire mesh I needed. I ordered some of the last inventory online. I’d use another metal such as stainless steel if I could find it in a format like this.

I sketched out some measurements and cut patterns on paper before folding the wire mesh, because wire mesh does not like to be unfolded and refolded.

Just how sharp the edges were had escaped my memory since the last time I worked with wire mesh, over a year ago.

I also bought some crimps, clasps, and a jewelry chain for the job (the last item because I ran out of 28-gauge annealed wire for the Viking knit and also needed something more easily attachable by clasp).

The corners needed reinforcement, but I didn’t have suitable material, and prioritized a random piece of metal from some unused IKEA attachment for the front flap—the original idea being a magnetic closure. However, the magnet was too weak once it was sewed on with galvanized steel wire, so I switched to a clasp and jump ring, which turned out to be very fidgety.

Viking knit strap detail

I took the finished handbag out for functional testing, which involved a bit of walking and a couple of rides on the T (the subway system in the Boston area). Unfortunately the bouncing from walking caused the corners to tear substantially.

So, the wire handbag is now on the wall with my growing wire artwork collection.

Wire hat (2019), De Stijl–inspired wire purse (2021), wire cuff (2021), and wire handbag (2022)

During this time, I’ve been wearing samples from the Hermetica discovery set that I bought a few months ago. Hermetica uses a proprietary, alcohol-free formula called Innoscent™ that is meant to be worn on skin, and each perfume includes the base Source1. All have been fairly pleasant while none have tempted me to buy a full bottle. They all gave me an “almost there but not quite” feeling that’s hard to describe, maybe because the oilier carrier fluid suppressed what might have been a satisfying burst in alcohol. Some days I reapplied several times because the scents did not seem to last, but when I refrained, I kept getting woody wafts throughout the day.

This also turned out to be an exploration of gourmands for me through Sandalsun, Amberbee, and Vaninight.

Sandalsun lists vanilla extract, sandalwood essence, and hazelnut molecule. Luckily for me, the hazelnut note was quite prominent and rested cozily on vanilla icing, a warm, comforting combination quite suitable for autumn.

Amberbee reminded me of a ’90s amber, for lack of a better description. It’s the caramellic aspect without the sharpness of labdanum. In this case, it might have been sugar praline, with myrrh essence, bergamot essence, and sweet amber molecule in the credits. I could smell the myrrh at times, which I love, although mostly I think it was the burnt sugar.

Vaninight defied my expectations, which were fairly low because I’m not usually keen on vanilla or amber fragrances. It promised vanilla absolute, almond oil, and floral amber molecule. This may have been my favorite in the set because the spicy opening was pure delight. Most likely black pepper. The rest of it also showcased the many facets of vanilla and may be one of the best examples of this ingredient that I have smelled so far.

I won’t comment on the others because I don’t remember them well enough or found them unremarkable, although I thoroughly enjoyed the pinkness of Rosefire (rose absolute, davana essence, and violet molecule). For no particular reason, I saved Source1 for last to try. It is a base of woody musk, dry amber, and bergamot; it smells as advertised. The initial bergamot-musk combination reminded me of a few Le Labo creations, namely the cool, synthetic ambergris of Another 13 and the citrusy fluffy cloud of the Seoul city exclusive Citron 28, only less rich. However, the darker woody-amber got warmer as the day went on without reapplication, revealing the secret of these Hermetica perfumes.

I’m all for revealing secrets if it multiplies creative inspiration…

11 thoughts on “Wire handbag—and perfumes I wore while making it

      1. I based it on your comments on other blogs. Perhaps your tone? Not sure to be honest. But I do enjoy reading your well thought out comments and now enjoy reading your posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. That handbag (and the whole wire artwork collection) is beautiful! I love the look of that hat. I’ve never tried Hermetica before, but these samples sound quite nice. I’m curious what their carrier oil is made of.


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