Back in 2009 on the Tavurvur blog a word of riots went off about a french firm that had patented the name ‘bilum’ for their bag making business. Aside from the furore of an overseas company using the bilum name to sell her bags (which is a huge issue on its own), I was actually interested in the material they used in making their bags.
It turns out that to achieve the label of being eco-friendly (and obviously trying to tie in to some ethnic/roots orientated feel with the word ‘bilum’) they were making their bags from recycled canvas, advertising billboards and other hardy weather proof material. This is of course not ground breaking since it has of late become a very fashionable product for all the right greenie points, but I wondered if perhaps we could do a bit of that here in PNG?
I almost thought I had someone to help me try out the idea a couple of weeks ago. I was down at Erima Big Rooster getting lunch where I spotted a man selling bags that he had made himself. He was selling them for K10 so I grabbed one to have a closer look at his work.
He explained to me that the bag had been made out of a cushion cover and that he had even put in waterproof material in the strap so that sweat would not ruin the material. I thought well brilliant because I have a canvas banner from a New Years Eve party we did in the Solomons just last/this year and I have no idea about sewing or working with canvas so I was wondering if he could help me?
Unfortunately after giving him my number he never called me back. Has anyone in POM seen a man selling the below hand made bags?