Yesterday, I bought a handbag I have wanted – lusted after – for over half a decade. It's a classic, hobo-style shoulder bag by Bottega Veneta, hand-woven like an ancient basket with strands of black leather. The leather's so soft it feels (and smells) almost other-worldly and it's lined inside with a cashmere-like nude suede. The bag comes with a small hand mirror backed with the same black leather. The cost was just a little less than a second-hand American car.I've been justifying the purchase by telling myself (and anyone else who'd listen) that I needed a strong, well-made bag to carry the increasing amount of stuff I take with me when I'm away from my studio – sunglasses, make-up, medication, 'analogue' diary and weekly planner, palm pilot, pencil case, phone, wallet, small sketch book, whatever – but to coin a Joan Didion line, that's just the story I tell myself in order to live.Even when I was dirt-poor, I was as particular about the clothes, shoes and accessories I wore as I was about the materials I used for my art. It wasn't about how luxurious or stylish they were (although a certain, bohemian style was a factor), but rather about something ineffable. When I had time but no money, I drifted around second-hand designer-wear outlets to find distinctive, individual pieces - unusual fabrics, unconventional tailoring, unique accessories with no apparent logos or labels. However, this Bottega Veneta bag is the first piece that I've sought and saved for spurred by a long-term, specific desire. It is also the first new, very expensive thing I have ever bought for myself – the first heady and even reckless indulgence of my new-found success.