Crocus Bag

Teleica Kirkland

A Crocus bag (also known as a croker/ crocus sack, burlap sack, towsack, gunnysack, grass sack or barley sack depending on the region of North America) is a sack which was used for carrying goods and produce to and from plantations and market places. The sacks were often made of roughly woven and coarse horse hair, cotton, flax or jute.

In certain part of the Caribbean and the Americas many enslaved Africans who used to work on the plantations were not often given pleasant materials with which to make clothes. Some had access to cotton which was spun, woven, cut and sewn into serviceable clothing (often called homespun) whilst others had to make do with clothing fashioned from roughly hewn sacking.

Enslaved Africans used their resourcefulness to recycle discarded sacking and fashion them into garments that although fairly uncomfortable by all accounts provided protection from the heat and dust. The national costume of St Kitts and Nevis uses fabric very similar to this material as a way of drawing an affinity and play homage to the resourcefulness and creativity of Kittitian and Nevisian ancestors.

More recently produce sacks have been made out of plastic and polymer fibres and have been recycled into bags, furniture and floor coverings. Loosely woven cotton or jute fabric which is also called hessian is used in a variety of fashion items and art practices.

Many designers including Lost Property of London and Felicite Mai have used this material in their work.