Even if we leave all the packaging bags to one side, look at the diversity in the bags that we choose to carry every day. We have bags for our laptops. We have bags for our tablets. We have bags for our makeup and toiletries. We have nappy bags, hand bags, duffel bags, backpacks and the list goes on. The materials from which they are made is also endless. The textures, colours and durability all influence our decision when it comes to choosing a bag. Handbags vary in size from the miniscule to the obscenely large. Luggage comes in all shapes and sizes, with wheels and without, made from plastic, fabric, combinations of both and anything in between. Backpacks enable the backpackers to see the world with just one bag, just as they allow a toddler to carry his own lunch into daycare. The list is endless and their application is the same.
The versatility of bags is truly remarkable. We put our sandwich in one which we, in turn, carry in a cooler bag, that usually ends up inside a school bag, handbag, or briefcase! They are a bit like Russian dolls really!!! We put our delicate items of laundry into wash bags! We have toiletry bags, dirty clothes bags, shoe bags, brown paper bags, organza bags, freezer bags, cliplock bags and the list goes on, and on, and on! In any one house, the number of bags would be endless, and to think they all have originated from the need to collect, keep and carry items necessary for survival.
Not much has changed really! At the moment we see the refugees pouring out of the Middle East carrying their few meagre belongings in those checked fibreglass bags. These bags are carrying humanity, they are carrying a lifetime. They are the symbol of despair and a symbol of hope. Without them, or some other bag, these poor unfortunate souls would have to flee with nothing. The displaced and the homeless carry their worldly possessions in bags. The term 'bag lady' symbolizes the homeless, just as these fibreglass bags are a symbol of those now fleeing war and annihilation. These humble, simple articles, that we call bags, are the fabric that allow these people to scrape together what is left of their lives and carry it to safety.
Just as birds collect and carry twigs to make their nest, and mice scurry backward and forwards shredding paper etc to build theirs, the origin of the humble bag began with the need for human beings to collect and carry. Today, they are part of everyone's lives from one end of the spectrum to the other. To some they are the symbol of survival. To others they are a status symbol with brand names displayed like the peacock's feathers. The bag has been with us since the beginning of time, and I believe like the proverbial cockroach, and will be here long after the end of mankind. The humble bag will give testimony to the ingenuity, the courage, the frivolity, the humanity, and the frailty of man.