This Time Round: The Making of the ABURY Canteen Bag Ivan

Posted on 22 July 2017

The ABURY Canteen Bag Ivan is the masterpiece of the A Non-Existent Tribe Collection. A statement piece on the one hand turning your outfit into an eye-catcher on the red carpet, a fair trade product with a story, creating work for artisans in a small village in Ecuador on the other hand. The Canteen Bag Ivan is part of the A Non Existent Tribe Collection, a collection that was brought to life by Zimbabwean designer Pam Samasuwo-Nyawiri, who won the first edition of the ABURY Design Experience in 2015. As a result she spent two months living and working in Salinas, Ecuador, where she designed and produced the new ABURY collection together with the local artisans. 


overview of the production of ivan bags


The Canteen Bag Ivan is entirely handmade by the local crafts community, every step of the fair trade production is well thought through and a process of teamwork amongst various specialised artisans and the designer Pam. Every step adds a small piece to the overall story.


the zimbabwean designer with the producers



We want to show you the production process from A to Z that will make you understand how this it-bag made it into our assortment:


1. Building the Frames of Canteen Bag Ivan


The production process starts with building the two round bast frames. The natural bast that is used is picked from the tropical mountain regions in Western Ecuador. It is woven almost right after, which means that it still has a lime greenish colour. This only changes to a brown tone over time because of the sun. Thus, the bast used is not dyed but remains in its natural condition.

Local craftswomen weaving baskets in Salinas, Ecuador


The weaving of the frames for one bag has to be done by one artisan to ensure that the tightness and frequency of the weave is the same. This is a very unique crafts technique that ensures a stable bag in the end. Determining the measurements of the Canteen Bag Ivan was tricky in the beginning due to the fact that it was important to create a frame that would be flexible enough to open and close.


2. Applying Fixtures


Only after the weaving process is complete, the artisan inserts the fixtures from inside the frames, that serve to close the bag once the production is complete. The leather closure is inserted from the outside, ensuring that the stitch is secure. At this point the two bast frames are still separate from each other.

artisan applying fixtures

3. Inserting the Lining


In the next step the lining is applied. Firstly, the pieces of leather used as lining are measured, cut and stitched together in the right shape with a sewing machine. Doing this ensures neatness in the first place.

inserting the lining

artisan sewing the lining


The artisan is covering the insides of the bast frames with glue. The fixture and closure that were applied in the previous step are covered and trapped. After leaving everything to dry for a moment, the lining is hand-stitched to ensure stability.


artisans inserting lining

4. Connecting the Frames

The two bast frames are connected with a stitched piece of the same leather used for the lining. At the point where the two frames meet, the leather is inserted to bridge the frames together. Everything is left to dry for a while and then hand-stitched as the sewing machine does not reach the inside of the bag.


5. Applying the Leather Strap


In the last step of the production, the leather for the strap is measured and cut, before the artisan glues it together and onto the sides of the frame.


artisan applying leather strap

designer and artisan applying the leather strap


The strap is again hand-stitched from the inside of the frame for stability. Everything is left to dry before the product is final.

The Canteen Bag Ivan is complete to rock the worlds of fashionistas around the globe, allowing them to look as stylish as can be while making a social impact.


picture of the non existent tribe collection © Photo by Suzana Holtgrave for ABURY[/caption]


© All photos of the production process were taken by Franziska Uhlmann


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