Honey, I Shrunk the Chanel! This Artist Turns Major Bags Into Mini Masterpieces

Apart from the miniature paintings, Casaverde is guided by the materials, and she keeps a large collection of different types of papers and lets them dictate what she would make with them. The Kelly bag featured here, for example, came from Hermès perfume samples. “The packaging was so good, it was almost like leather so I thought maybe I’ll make a Kelly some time.” Her replicas are fully functional. “It’s important to me that all the pieces work, that you could maybe put things inside,” she says. “Wouldn’t it be so fun to do a ‘what’s in my bag with it?’”

Despite the playful nature of her work, there is serious design work that goes into it, often coming straight from the source. “A few years ago Hermès released patterns for people to make their own normal-size Kelly bags,” Casaverde tells me. “I re-drew the pattern in the computer program AutoCAD, and I made it as small as I could, while still making sure it could be built out of paper.” Other than AutoCAD, most of her tools are relatively basic. “I use a lot of simple needles and tweezers, like just the kind you get at the pharmacy.” Her most idiosyncratic tool is a magnifying watchmaker loupe, which she attaches to her glasses and uses when adding details. “I bought one of those glasses that surgeons use, with a light, but it was too annoying,” she tells me laughing. “It got too heavy! So now I just use my loupe, even though it’s older.”