April 21, 2017
You may have noticed their bold colours and eye-catching designs near the checkouts. A new line of reusable bags is now available at Calgary-area Co-op stores, but these bags are far from ordinary.
Calgary Co-op commissioned local artist and illustrator Heather Buchanan to design and create beautiful works of art for the bags after her work was spotted at the city’s popular Market Collective.
There are two different bag designs; one could be called more whimsical while the other is more realistic.
Two children in a sea of greens juggle croissants, avocado, and melons on one of the bags, while its flip side features a stunning Carmen Miranda-Frida Kahlo-esque portrait where the figure is surrounded by all manner of fresh foods. The more you look at it, the more small details you notice; the bacon and eggs print on the woman’s dress or the cheeky “someone call me a cab” label on a wine bottle all contribute to the multi-layered and fun design.
“I like making things that are bight, things that are funny in some way and often a little surreal and whimsical,” explains Buchanan, who created eight designs in just under three weeks. “I don’t think I left the house for four solid days!”
The bags are four-sided, so each panel has a different design, and one sports an illustrated recipe for Curried Coconut Soup from noted Co-op food writer Julie Van Rosendaal.
The second bag design is decidedly more quirky. A pineapple wearing sunglasses lounges by the Bow River while a bright-eyed broccoli pedals a pathway with a smile. While a lemon dances a jig with a pear, a cut of beef shaped like Alberta prides over the ‘bowl-room’ dance number.
“I wanted to make something with a cheerful, happy, joyful vibe. If a grocery bag can bring a little bit of cheer, I’m stoked.” enthuses Buchanan, “I’m happy a portion of the proceeds are going to charity. The reusable bag reduces plastic bags and at the same time helps people not go hungry. That’s really, really cool.”
Calgary Co-op is sharing the proceeds from sales of the bags; Each time a member reuses one of these bags at Calgary Co-op, they receive a 3¢ bag credit that can be donated to the Co-op Community Foundation.
As Co-op’s Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Events and Charitable Giving Karen Allan explains, it’s about giving back to the community.
“By purchasing a reusable bag, our members are not only reducing waste, they are also making a valuable contribution to our community and supporting a local artist.’
28,500 bags have been printed and shipped to area Co-op stores. The bags are great grocery vessels, but they’re also a unique way local art is made more accessible.
“I’ve always been interested in the ways art and commerce meet and the different ways art can come into people’s lives,” says Buchanan.
The bags are available at Calgary Co-op stores while supplies last.
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