I’m In Sheer Awe At This Deeply Iconic Beaded Bachelor’s Handbag That Won A Perth Art Competition

Artwork of a beaded bag that resembles a Coles roast chicken by Perth artist Emma Buswell and Kath Day-Knight in Kath & Kim eating a donut wearing a silver bowler hat saying "I loike what I see"

Perth artist Emma Buswell has taken out the top prize in an art competition for her beautifully Auscore beaded handbag designed to look like a Coles roast chook. Obsessed doesn’t even begin to cut it.

The jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring and scintillating work is called “The Sometimes Luxury Handbag and other Suburban Fables” and is made entirely out of silk and glass beads.

If you ask me, it’s an absolutely worthy winner of the 2022 Invitation Art Prize, which is an esteemed art competition in Western Australia that’s been running for 24 years and has a $25k first prize award. Buswell took out the top spot and the cash, which is bloody amazing.

Buswell told PEDESTRIAN.TV the beaded bachelor’s handbag was inspired by the idea of luxury and what that looked like to her growing up.

“Luxury in one instance was a precooked chook, and the idea of it being a special treat because my parents didn’t have to cook it themselves,” she said.

“This was a rare thing in our family growing up. I remember we got to have takeaway on our birthdays; [it was] the same when we were at school with canteen lunches on special occasions.”

She said the intricate work took more than 100 hours to make, but the lengthy process added to its meaning.

“The luxury in this bag is the time it took to make — the immediacy of being able to pick up a convenient precooked dinner is over run by taking time to recreate it.”

The level of DETAIL. Artwork credit: “The Sometimes Luxury Handbag and other Suburban Fables”, 2022, glass beads, silk.

While I’ve never actually roasted a chook before, I just know it’s a labour of love making sure that baby is succulent and moist. Nigella Lawson makes it look so damn easy.

“The Sometimes Luxury Handbag and other Suburban Fables” is also Buswell’s first-ever beaded piece. The artist has created a plethora of knitted works that are, quite frankly, just as iconic as the wearable bachelor’s briefcase.

One work you might have seen before is the “There’s Nothing Unlawful” sweater — a smashed avocado green knit emblazoned with the words “There’s nothing unlawful about going for a run and eating a kebab”, accompanied by a bloke going for a run and a tasty kebab.

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A post shared by Emma Buswell (@embuzza1)

Buswell did a few runs of the jumper and to this day, I still see people wearing it on the streets of Perth. It’s an icon, it’s the moment and it’s deliciously kitsch.

If you’re hoping to snag your very own wearable Coles roast chook bag, however, Buswell said you might need to watch this space.

“I do hope to make something accessible for people to purchase, but we’ll have to see,” she said.

No pressure, but I am well and truly fanging to add such a gorgeous accessory to my wardrobe. I also think Kath Day-Knight in Kath & Kim would rock the absolute hell out of it, along with some chooky earrings and a batwing sleeve coogi jumper.

If you want to see “The Sometimes Luxury Handbag and other Suburban Fables” in the flesh, the work will be exhibited at Westfield Whitford City until October 23.

And if you want to purchase some of Buswell’s other work, you can check out her website here.