Judith Lieber’s purses are works of art as much as any painting or sculpture I have ever seen. Last week, with my friends Linda and Dorothy, I visited the Michener Museum in New Hope, PA, and we were all amazed at the beauty and delight of Lieber’s extraordinary creations, from the trapezoidal-shaped purses of satin and leather to the unique purses in the shapes of animals, fruits, and vegetables. She seemed to draw her creativity from whatever she found interesting and her pocketbooks literally sparkle from that creativity.
At 85, I believe that Judith Pieto Leiber is also an inspiration to several generations of women, proving one can succeed despite hardship. She spent World War II in hiding and was denied studying science because of her Judaism. That loss became the fashion and art world’s gain. She was the first woman to achieve Master status in the Hungarian handbag artisan guild while still living in Europe, and then found success here in the US after immigrating with her American husband, Al Gerson Leiber. After working for several other handbag companies, she started her own company in 1963.
In viewing her handbags, starting with the lovely first purse, a silver chatelain created in 1967, to the subsequent handbags worn by first ladies Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, my friends and I remarked that the pocketbooks were timeless. Anyone of them could be worn today and still be considered “in style.” Just as a painting or a sculpture can be timeless, so are her creations. If the collection comes to a museum close to you, don’t miss it!
Not all pocketbooks are works of art, like Judith Lieber’s. However, I believe that they do reflect the wearer’s personality. The title of my blog this week, What Color is Your Pocketbook? is a spin-off, or knock-off (as are some of Lieber’s purses) of the book entitled, The 2006 What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. First published in 1970, it is considered THE guide for job hunters and career changers, and is updated almost every year. His title came from the answer he gave to friends who told him they hated their jobs and were ready to “bail out.” He would then ask the friend, “So what color is your parachute?”
My title means something a little different, because it is meant to explore how you and your pocketbook are linked. Are you a big-bag person, or do you favor small purses that fit only wallet, keys, and your cell phone? Do you like shoulder bags, tote bags, pouches, ones with short handles? Are your pocketbooks several different colors and materials? Over the years, have you given up changing purses and now settle on one good one each fall and spring, as my friend Dorothy does. (As a teenager, my two sisters and I would fight over which of the many pocketbooks we would wear the next day at school. I still have a bevy of bags that I change every few days.)
So, the next time you purchase a purse, think about why you picked that particular one. Does it say something about you as a person, just like the books you read say something about your taste in literature? Do you buy an expensive purse like Coach because it is a status symbol, or are you happy with a discounted purse from TJ Maxx? In other words, what does the pocketbook say about you now? Just food for thought, speaking of which, is my recipe for this week’s blog: Pocket Salad Sandwiches. Not exactly a Judith Lieber creation, but a recipe that explores your creativity, depending on the veggies you choose:
PITA POCKET SALAD SANDWICHES
INGREDIENTS: (Organic, if possible)
One tomato, diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1/4 avocado, peeled and diced
4-6 scallions, washed and trimmed, then minced
4-5 artichoke hearts, chopped
4-6 black olives, sliced
Leaf lettuce, washed and dried
Olive oil lemon juice, and minced garlic
1. Steam pita for a couple of minutes to make it pliable.
2. Cut in half. Line each half with a large lettuce leaf.
3. Place all the minced, chopped and sliced veggies in a bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped garlic to taste.
4. Then place several tablespoons into the leaf-lined pita bread halves.
5. Top with sprouts and enjoy. Should be enough to stuff 4-6 pita halves.
(Feel free to add your own dressing and substitute veggies of your choice.)
(Sources for this article: Judith Lieber collection at the Michener Museum, New Hope, PA: Inside Magazine, Spring 2006; and www.jwmag.org/articles/05Winter02/p.10 asp. (photos included).
NOTES: 1. There is an online company that allow you to lease an expensive purse for a period of time. See www.frombagstoriches.com/StoreFront.bok.
2. I will be away from April 27-May 13, so there may not be a blog next week. I hope to have one in time for Mother’s Day.
3. If you are looking for something Special & Unique for a Mother’s Day Gift, VISIT Analiese Designs for great handcrafted jewelry and other accessories at reasonable prices. LOG INTO:
www.analiesedesigns.com OR www.analiese.etsy.com.