The gift giving season is in full swing, and if you’re looking for a practical, unique ag-related gift for someone on your list, look no further than Selina Vaughan Studios.
The artist repurposes old cloth feed and seed sacks to create handbags and backpacks.
“I have pickers in almost every state in the United States that call me when they find them,” said Patrick Vaughan, a collector. “I also go to auctions and work with collectors. Some of these collectors have found bags over the last 30, 40, 50 years and have collected from every state and every brand possible.”
He will find bags from brands that we recognize today such as Dekalb and Pioneer. There’s also no shortage of bags from other regional brands that are no longer in existence.
“There’s one county in Iowa that had 27 seed corn companies alone, so you can imagine how many seed corn companies there were originally across the Midwest,” said Vaughan. “There were thousands of them, and they all had these bags they wanted to identify themselves. They branded with these different types of logos on the bags and change those out every couple years. From 1950 to maybe the mid-70s, there were new bags being made all the time and the old ones not being used.”
With some of these bags being upwards of 80 years old, the quality is extremely important to the production of the final product. Patrick cleans and prepares the bags before his business partner Selina turns them into something special.
“All these designs are very practical—they’re very sturdy bags,” he said. “No bags here look like anything you’ll ever find in a department store. They’re made for the country lifestyle—women who are into agriculture, men who want a tough bag but something they can identify with. They can throw it in the truck or tractor. It’s Selina who does all that work.”