beautiful bodega bags

I think bodegas in NYC are the biggest argument for an anti-plastic bag law in the city. If you are buying something from a corner bodega it is most likely something small and you are most likely only a block from your final destination. That’s the whole point of the bodega. It’s not a fully stocked grocery store. It’s an oh sh*t I forgot ___ and I need it immediately so I’m going to run to the corner bodega. Or it’s an I have a 5 minute lunch break where can I go? Or I’m just getting out of work at 10pm and am too hungry (or broke) to wait for Seamless.

And there’s literally one on every block. That’s why it’s called the corner bodega. You can carry that salad or that bottle of water or that frozen dinner a few feet to your office/apartment.

And yet everything you buy – even that single bottle of water – gets immediately placed in a cheap plastic bag. Every time. I’m on the anti-plastic bag bandwagon. I (almost) always have bags with me at the ready for my grocery store or Target or whatever shopping run on I’m on. And yet there are still times I take a plastic wrapped snack out of the corner bodega. Whether it’s because I’m not fast enough to tell the quick handed person at the register that I don’t need it. Or I’m in such a rush I don’t even think about it. Or I’m just being lazy that day. Whatever the reason I have ended up with many the bodega bags I don’t know what to do with. At home if I end up with a Target bag it’ll get re-used for cat poop or to carry my lunch in. But there’s no cat poop at work and I don’t usually have to carry my lunch home so these bodega bags go to waste.

That’s why I find these embroidered bodega bags so mesmerizing. In recreating these wasteful plastic bags into beautiful textiles, artist Nicoletta de la Brown took something so often hastily discarded and made them art.

The artist describes the series El Barrio Bodego as…

Res­cued from the gut­ter; blow­ing down the street like city tum­ble­weed. I reclaim and ele­vate what once was dis­carded by cre­at­ing embell­ished art objects. Grow­ing up in Brook­lyn and Harlem I’d visit my block’s bodega daily, with pen­nies in hand, and leave with price­less trea­sures. More than just bags, they reflect a sense of pride for my neigh­bor­hood and are a sym­bol of my cul­tural identity.

You can see more of Nicoletta’s work on her Baker Artist Awards page.

Brown Paper Bag via Weaving Hand

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