After the button store, we got lost – well I did really, in some Passementerie stores. Lovely colours for cushion edges. We stopped for a cuppa which was well needed by this stage. If this wasn’t enough so far, then we hit the fabric district. In my mind that song, ‘ heaven, I’m in heaven, and I can’t believe ……’ was rolling through my mind. Streets of fabric stores and stores with floors of fabric. Oh like the good old days in Melbourne. Wow! Even managed to find my knock off Marimekko fabric in the colour I was after on my list. And stores of haberdashery places. Not sections of a store with haberdashery, no haberdashery stores. How much fun. One interesting aspect about buying fabric in this area was the idea of the ‘coupons’. So in a number of the fabric is already cut into a set length, a coupon, and that is how you purchase your fabric. Not only is it sale time in France for the fashion stores in July, it is sale time on the coupons too! I purchased some coupon fabric too. Poor Barbara, she was ever so tolerant of me. One minute drooling, one minute photographing on the iPad, next with the camera, one minute flirting with the African salesman ( he made a compliment to me first!), one minute buying fabric. She even offered to be my packhorse.
Barbara my ever patient carry horse
I did take advantage of her offer. By then we had been going for the best part of the day and it was time to end it. Before we parted ways, Barbara also had some beaut tips that are also list on her web site about other current textile events in Paris. Barbara is such a lovely host and guide. She helps you with all your queries and can help in translations and tractions. And knows just where to go. It’s fabulous fun. Next time in Paris, I’ll be putting my hand up for my next tailored tour!
I have taken long service leave from my teaching position this year. Much of the year I have travelled. I will feature over the next month some of the interesting and fun textiles related activities I have done. I am starting off with one of my favourite adventures. It was called, Stitching Up Paris. This was one day in my travels that I was really looking forward to. My individually tailored ‘stitching up Paris’ tour!!! Barbara had come highly recommended and I was looking forward to being picked up at my hotel and whizzed around Paris on the Metro by a ‘local’ to a selection of fabric haunts. I was not to be disappointed. My companion for the day was New Zealand born Barbara. French women have a reputation for looking so chic in that very understated and minimalist way. After 25 years of living in Paris, that ‘je ne sais pas’ quality has rubbed off on Barbara, i could see this as she arrived my hotel. after a bit of a discussion to confirm my interests, we were off. I am going to describe my day to you and put up some fun photos of the day but i am not going to publish the addresses of the place Barbara took me to. That wouldn’t be fair to her business. Also, half the fun, is being able to relax with Barbara at letting her show around Paris. So do book a tour with her. Our first stop was as if I had gone back in time. The business we visited is only open for a few hours in the morning. Originally, the shop had opened as a supplier of accessories for all kinds of leather goods ie. horse saddle pieces, travel goods, buckles for belts, clasps, hangers and closures for bags, and purses etc. In fact, the business still services its locals, as a gentleman came in looking for shoe findings for shoes he was repairing, while we were there. From the outside, the store looked from another era and very humble indeed, but inside, its a treasure trove. With the two of us in the reception area of the store and it was crowded. Started in 1946 by the proprietor’s late husband, Madame had started working there when she was 16. Now in her early eighties, she still can’t leave even though her son is now working there too. The proprietor showed me handbag frames that were made in France. She brings out small cardboard boxes from the back of the shop, behind a partition for you to look at. She lamented that her supplier had now retired and she would not be able to get more stock of these handcrafted bag findings. Did i make a purchase? of course i did! It was a live vintage experience. mother and son
mother and son
After our visit to the leather accessories store, we walked through a Muslim quarter with a number of embroidered garments on display in shop windows and past through the fragrant local market to a local fabric store. I didn’t purchase here but still loved the wander. From here, we travelled via Metro to a fabulous button store. So many beautiful buttons. The owner here, Marieanne, had original opened a fabric and button store after many years of working in the couture houses of Paris, doing the hand finishing and detailing on garments. She started the business 13 years ago after working in the industry as a seamtress. Her father was a tailor. He used to have fabrics – designer off cuts. Now Marieanne just focusses on buttons. Walls of Buttons all colour coded. Extremely strict policy here, not to remove the tube of buttons that you are interested in purchasing, simply pull them out part way. Exquisite buttons and so much fun. I purchased some wedge wood cameo type buttons in three sizes, glass Mona Lisa, to name a few.
Marieanne still loves to do the hand finishing work she was trained to do in the couture days. She was working on a piece of embroidery on a large rectangle style of rolling hoop the day we visited. The embroidery work she was doing she called it luneville embroidery. It was an exquisite piece.
have spent a couple of days playing with ‘cabling’, thick threads on the bobbin with my machine. thought id post the samples up. the surfaced always feel so amazing to touch.
its been at least 2 years since I sat down at my favourite Bernina machine and started to embroider. so today, I finally started again and it was such fun. to get back into the groove, I began by stitching out some of the old classics. cards. here they all are with the threads still hanging off them. go gab!!
There is a fabulous exhibition on at the NGV at the moment featuring the most amazing scale of freehand machine embroidery work I have seen. Contemporary Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho has produced massive embroideries of his cartoon like images and motif that are about exploring contemporary images and culture with traditional Indonesian culture. Very impressive. Exhibition ends 1 April 2013
I was invited to send some embroidery work to a group Textiles exhibition in Sydney at Lane Cove. THe exhibition aimed to present a small section of the variety of media and interpretation contemporary textiles is currently taking. some delightful pieces on display that push the boundaries of traditional techniques in a quirky and unusual way. well worth the visit. I sent up 4 of the red crosses series of embroideries
Congratulations to Sharyn Hall, textile fibre artist extraordinaire whose solo exhibition, Argentum closed today in Brisbane. I know I have been too late in getting this up on the blog page but I will post some images from the show for you. Trust you enjoy them.
detail of Sharyn Halls pieces
detail of Sharyn Halls fabric manipulation