San Francisco Journal: The Tote Bag Book by @jiteshpatel from @SFMOMA

Those of you that know me, know that I love tote bags.  LOVE.  I have a ton and seem to use every one of them.  Yes- I carry way too much stuff.  BUT I NEED IT.  Or if I don’t, I MAY need it.  If there’s an earthquake, and I get stuck for hours, I’ll have plenty to do, right?  Never a second wasted.  

I actually only brought my wonderful FRED PERRY bag (size large) and small plaid tote with me to SF.  Shocking, I know!

Today to work?  I have a giant shopping tote (for all my craft stuff), a extra large soft tote (for all my paperwork and journaling), my computer bag, my FRED PERRY bag and a medium IKEA tarp tote (for all the art therapy supplies).  Not bad, not bad.  A light day.  And oh, just in case, my purse does have two rolled up totes… JUST.  IN.  CASE.

So needless to say, I have been coveting the Tote Bag book by Jitesh Patel (2011) for awhile now.  A book about totes, that comes with a tote?  Hello!

My daughter forced me to get a copy on this latest visit to SFMOMA (info about the exhibit we saw will be coming in another post).  Why did I even hesitate?!  I adore it.  Totes are the perfect medium for bringing your message to the world.  I need to get on this.

The book itself is beautifully presented and the artists are fascinating.  The soft supple feel of the book makes it feel like a journal.  I’m a fan!  Thank you, Jitesh, for this fabulous book!

From Jitesh’s site:

The tote bag is an eco product for this century, destined to replace disposable plastic bags. The canvas bag has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more people have become environmentally conscious, concerned about climate change and aware of the impact of their carbon footprint. The media reminds us all to be more conscious of the world we live in, and environmental issues are inescapable.

The tote bag artworks that are most striking, inventive, ironic and original have formed the basis of this book. I have received many positive and encouraging responses from designers while researching the topic; most have commented that it was a great subject for a book. I hope the readers of this book will share our enthusiasm.

Jitesh is a talented artist and designer.  I encourage you to explore his work.

I haven’t unwrapped the tote bag from the book yet.  May just leave it the way it is.  The mysterious unused tote.

See also:

2010 visit to SFMOMA

San Francisco Portrait #1 Honey Mahogany

San Francisco Craft Project Series Part 1: Sockshop on Haight

Brunch at Brenda’s

San Francisco Portrait #2 Tony

San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Portraits 3 and 4: TC and David

San Francisco Journal: Doc Martens

San Francisco Craft Project Series Part 2: sock bunny

I will continue to share my incredible weekend in San Francisco (that I spent with my daughter and her friends) through a series of portraits and journal entries over the next week or so.

Weekly artist series: Week 9 Part 2 SUE COE: A mother dying

Week 9 Part 2 Sue Coe

The Last 11 Days is a group of charcoal drawings Sue Coe created from July 20 to 31, 1995 depicting her mother as she lay dying with cancer. The drawings reveal Coe’s private struggle with her mother’s illness and eventual death. [source]

I’m not a big fan of the word “resonate.”  The meaning is OK, but the word irritates me for many reasons.  But I have to use it when describing Sue Coe’s drawing of her dying mother.  These pieces resonate with me as I feel such connection to my own experience.

From the series ; Charcoal on paper; 11 x 13 in.; Gift of Patti Cadby Birch; © Galerie St. Etienne, New York


Unlike her other work, The Last 11 Days were created without the intention of being shown and reveal Coe’s private struggle with her mother’s illness and eventual death. Sue Coe is inspiring in every form, supporting issues that plague the world and refusing to sit quietly in their wake. She continues to be a magnetic force in the complex world of contemporary women artists.

One day, I will revisit  and draw from the photos of my mother‘s declining body and the photo after she passed, but not yet.

What do you want to process eventually?

I know the process of drawing mom in her last weeks will be an important and necessary one for me personally.  I hold onto her purse, her wallet, her phone, her trinkets, her perfume, even her last umbrella.

Before I went to San Francisco, I visited mom’s memorial leaf and just cried and cried.  It’s not about needing to work on something unfinished.  I’m working.  It’s about not shying away from the processes of life.  I don’t want to shy away.

My daughter can feel the presence of “Mormor” in her daily life in San Francisco.  We often talk about how Mormor flew right down to Anna in San Francisco when she left her body.

Anna sees Mormor at the SFMOMA in the portrait by Matisse.  I love that Mom also had green eyes.

The Girl with Green Eyes, 1908
Henri Matisse

See also:

35 PART daily journal exercise

Weekly artist exploration/journaling series INTRO

Weekly artist series Week 1 parts 1-6 FRIDA KAHLO

Weekly artist series Week 2 parts 1-6 PICASSO

Weekly artist series Week 3 parts 1-5 LISA LARSON

Weekly artist series Week 4 parts 1-3 GEORGE GROSZ 

Weekly artist series Week 5 parts 1-4 FAITH RINGGOLD

Weekly artist series Week 6 Parts 1-3 BASQUIAT

Weekly artist series Week 7 Parts 1-4 deKOONING

Weekly artist series Week 8 Parts 1-3: OTTO DIX

Weekly artist series Week 9 Part 1: SUE COE Life in a Day

Mom's parrot, Asterix, lives with me now. I love when he does her belly laugh and answers the phone in her Swedish accent.

The letters of Frida Kahlo and how my daughter @AnnaTFabulous blurred art and reality.

My friend, Desmond Reid, surprised me with a DELICIOUS Frida Kahlo book the other day:

My child, I really should not complain about anything that happens to me in life, so long as you love me…

“Her writings reveal her precociousness, the intensity of her feelings, and her enduring physical distress: they unveil her personality as no biography could.” – Martha Zamora

And my daughter surprised me BEYOND last week with her Frida Kahlo outfit at SFMOMA’s Now Playing Event:

He was following me.  Like my shadow, blameless and light.

In the night, a song sobbed…

He followed me.

I ended up crying, isolated in the porch of the parish church,

protected by my bolita shawl, drenched with my tears.