When Suzanne Wilson’s job was eliminated last December, she quickly found a new career, one that would allow her to use her creative talents and provide financial assistance to a cause near and dear to her heart.
Wilson, a resident of the Cruso community in Haywood County, has always loved to sew and decided to try her hand at cloth handbags, shoulder and clutch bags. She dreamed of earning enough to replace her former wages, and be able to donate to her favorite cause. Wilson is an active member of Friends of Hospice.
“Actually, the bags started as Christmas gifts, but they were so popular that I began making more,” Wilson said. The first few turned into dozens and now hundreds of the bags.
A member of Haywood County’s Green Initiative, Wilson firmly believes in recycling and reclaiming materials. She gets the cloth for her bags from donations or purchases scraps at local businesses.
Each bag is lined with a fabric that complements the exterior fabric. Some women like to reverse the bags to expose the inside fabric for a different look, Wilson said.
Each bag is double-stitched and is signed and dated by Wilson. She has named the bag styles, such as the Edna and the Claire, after family members and friends.
Wilson is a volunteer at Bethel Elementary School and the teachers there asked her to make bags large enough to hold their classroom papers.
Wilson’s bags are available at the Haywood Regional Medical Center Gift Shop and the Growing Young Café in Asheville. She also takes them to craft fairs and events like the Trout Festival in Maggie Valley.
“I take custom orders and will take the bags to homes and offices upon request,” Wilson said.