• Karen Seiger

Totes To Make You LOL: Interview with Leslie Jowett Astor of Astorknot

Leslie Jowett Astor of Astorknot, Featured Vendor at the Brooklyn Craft Central Holiday Craft Market

Leslie Jowett Astor of Astorknot makes fun, vibrant, and somewhat irreverent appliqué tote bags, fusing brightly colored fabric on more brightly colored fabric.  These are the totes you notice at the Greenmarket that make you actually LOL.  I had the chance to ask her a few key questions.

Your totes strike a funny, ironic note.  Where do you get your ideas? I have a deadpan sense of humor, and I get ideas from all over the place.  My teenage nieces inspired the Text Message Totes.  I’m amused by their Facebook postings, the way communicate such emotion with letters rather than words, like OMG and LOL.  Pop culture is a source of inspiration.

Also, everyday stuff out of context just seems funny and maybe provocative.  I like it when people on the subway start conversations about the tote bag I’m carrying.  I have a friend who is a very busy mother, and knitting is her escape from the daily stress of being a parent.  She inspired the tote that says, “I Knit So I Won’t Kill.”

Will you be bringing other items to the Brooklyn Craft Central Market? I only sell totes, but I’ve been playing around with other things.  So I’ll be bringing some tote making kits.  I sold them at The {NewNew}’s Crafts in Chelsea event, and people liked them.  They are an non-intimidating way to do crafts with your kids, rather than filling your house with plastic toys.  Of course, I have three sons, so my house is full of plastic toys.

Your Etsy bio says that you knew you wanted to be an artist when you received your first Crayola Caddy at age 7. What is your favorite crayon color and why? There are several new colors that are interesting, but I love the classic red crayon.  Red and green are my favorite colors.  Red is everywhere.  Blood is red, and yet red can also be beautiful.  Red is intimidating and soothing at the same time.  I love red with everything.  The classics never die.

Why did you choose tote bags as your artistic medium? Tote bags are another way of being expressive.  Like it says on one of my totes, “Remember that you’re special just like everybody else.”  I try to strike a balance between my creative life and my family life.  It can be tough, but it’s so worthwhile.

You can find Leslie and her totes at these events:

  1. Sunday, December 5th:  Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Book & Craft Fair, where she’ll be selling custom challah covers.

  2. Saturday, December 11th: Artscetera Pop Up Shop, 12 Smith Street, between Baltic and Butler Streets in Brooklyn

  3. Sunday, December 12th: Astoria Market

  4. Saturday & Sunday, December 18th & 19th: Brooklyn Craft Central Holiday Craft Market

Pick up a tote from Astorknot, and you’ll never want to leave home without it!

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