The Shiny Squirrel Pop-Up: Forestbound

For the third in our Pop-up Shop feature series I chatted with friend Alice Saunders of Forestbound. She’s a local Bostonian and has continued to impress with her wide selection of handmade salvaged canvas and leather bags. Check out our Q&A below to see how she got into making bags and where she gets her unique materials.

Q. When did you first start crafting bags and what made you decide on using only salvaged materials?

A. I had been making bags on and off for many years, but officially started Forestbound in early 2008. I had been going to flea markets since I was a kid and was always drawn to military surplus and historic textiles.. one day it just dawned on me that I could take these old canvas items apart and make a bag that was more my style and that I would want to carry around every day. From there it just kind of evolved and made sense to transform these beautiful old textiles into practical every day items so people could still appreciate the history of them.

Q. Forestbound has become a rather well-known brand, what are some highlights in your career thus far?

A. Ah man, that’s a tough question! I was featured in the New York Times Style magazine a few months ago, which was definitely a highlight, but I’d have to say that connecting with other designers and creative types who have a similar aesthetic and mindset is what I am most thankful for. Aaron Ruff of Digby & Iona ( and Amy Merrick ( to name just a few!

Q. Where do you find your materials?

A. Mostly at flea markets & estate sales throughout New England. I’ve been hunting around for old military textiles for so long that I’ve been lucky enough to develop relationships with some real great old timers who collect military antiques and put canvas aside for me. Those always seem to end up being my favorite finds.

Q. What are your sources of daily inspiration?

A. Daily inspiration mostly comes from the textiles and objects that I’ve surrounded myself with in the studio. I basically have an entire room filled with materials that I’ve collected but haven’t sorted through yet. Whenever I need a little jolt of inspiration I just go into that room and dig through a giant pile until I find an old duffel bag or feed sack that’s just been sitting there waiting to be uncovered again.

Q. You recently launched a men’s collection and a collection of all leather goods with great success. What do you have in store next for Forestbound?

A. Well winter time is usually when I end up finding my best materials, so I’m mostly just waiting to uncover some new finds that will end up turning into a new collection of bags. I try not to get too far ahead of myself and just rely on new design ideas to come once I discover some unusual materials or hardware. I also have really been enjoying working with leather more than I have in the past, so I’ve been thinking up some new all leather bag designs as well.


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