“Plastic is for losers!” Paonia’s Eco Bag Lady saysApr 04, 2023 03:36PM ● By Colleen M. Story
Long-time professional seamstress and designer Sherrion Taylor treasures the homemade canvas bags her son Tony made.
“I’m the mother of twin sons,” said Taylor, 78. “One year, Tony made his family one of these bags out of canvas, then he took my fabrics and appliquéd them onto the bags.”
Years later, after Taylor moved to Paonia, she was going through her stuff and found the little sack.
“I have bags and boxes of leftover scraps. I thought, I’m gonna just get rid of some of these fabrics, so I just started making [the bags] myself,” said Taylor.
She thought they would be a great way to repurpose the designer fabrics she gets from the Kravet Showroom in the Denver Design Center.
“It’s all high-quality stuff,” she said. “They send me samples that are discontinued. I decide what I want to keep and I share it with other people who like to sew. Then I repurpose all this gorgeous fabric.”
At first, she used regular strapping for the bag handles, but then a colleague of hers from Chaco, the footwear company that started in Paonia, gave her some leftover sandal straps, which Taylor found were much stronger for her bags.
“That’s really what makes the bags special,” she said.
FABULOUS FABRIC DESIGNS
Taylor has lived around fabrics all her life. Proud of her Slovenian heritage, she said sewing was part of her culture.
“You’re born crocheting with your umbilical cord!” she joked.
She added that her mother could crochet an afghan in half a day.
“She made all of my school clothes,” she said.
But Taylor herself wasn’t interested in crocheting. She used her aunt’s sewing machine to learn how to sew.
After she grew up and had her boys, she spent some time in Boulder where she started a children’s fine arts school, then later moved to Vail where she met a businesswoman who needed someone to help with her design work.
Thus began Taylor’s career in fabric design. She made custom skirts, draperies, slipcovers and more out of quality fabrics. When she later moved to Telluride, she started her own business, which was the mother company for her current business, Eco Bag Lady Says.
Today, she lives in Paonia where she has an upstairs sewing room stacked with fabrics. She washes and dries them all after receiving them, then repurposes them into fun eco bags and other products, including Paonia purple bike jerseys.
As to why Taylor wanted to make eco-friendly bags, she said, “We need to stop this stupid buying junk that’s poisoning the rivers and our environment. And the plastic. Plastic is for losers!”
Again she credits her Slovenian culture for her love of the environment, noting that her mother gardened almost until the day she died.
“I was always around women who produced food for the family,” she said, “very creative, fabulous cooks, so I’ve been around the organic scene since the early ’70s.”
Now, Taylor sells her eco bags all over the world in the hopes of contributing to a cleaner environment.
“All the fabrics are pre-washed and shrunk,” she said, and are machine washable, though she recommends line drying. “They make great gifts!” She suggests getting the bags for family and friends around the holidays, or for weddings and baby showers.
These high-quality bags can be used for groceries, but Taylor said they can also be used as diaper bags, lunch bags, potluck dish bags, beach bags, overnight bags and swim bags. She makes a purse-size bag, too.
“I’ve had one myself for five years,” she said. “I put a very sturdy bottom in the bags. The seams are serged. They’re really beautifully constructed. This isn’t a cheap canvas bag with something printed on it.”
Locally, Taylor sells her bags at Small Mall on Main, 558 Main St. in Grand Junction; and in Paonia at The Blue Sage Gallery, 228 Grand Ave., and Sweetgrass Restaurant, 120 Grand Ave. She’s also at the Palisade Farmers Market during the summer, Paonia’s Cherry Days Festival and the Refined Art Festival in Cedaredge (coming up on May 27).
“I’m repurposing it and keeping stuff out of the landfill,” she said.