Monday, August 26, 2013

woven -- and other -- chairs

I noticed a number of chairs around Paris that were woven. 
Firstly the ubiquitous woven café chairs, which vary in colors
but always around the sturdy bamboo frame.

Then at CSAO Africa, which, sadly, was closed,
a wonderful woven chair frame.

And at the same place, 2 beaded Yoruba thrones.  Not woven, of course,
but still, fantastic and out of the ordinary textiles.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Walking around Paris, peering into shop windows

I was recently in Paris for 3 days, prior to going down to Les Soeurs Anglaises to take a weeklong workshop on creative making. I had no agenda other than to have fun, so determined just to wander around the neighborhoods and find some textile inspirations. A friend had found a great little inexpensive hotel in St Germain des Pres -- a high end neighborhood full of gorgeous cafes and expensive shops. As it was August, many of the shops were closed so it turned into a time of windowshopping. Here are a few highlights: Textile Design shops -- Pierre Frey in particular.
Here is a shop selling high end jacquard "tapestry" made up into wonderful objects. Love the horsehead pillows. You might notice the graffiti from across the street, reflected in the window.
The Gien shop -- gorgeous hand painted porcelain. They were hardhearted enough to have pulled iron grilles across the big windows, but it is rather a decorative addition.
This shop, whose name I sadly did not write down!, had the most delightful things, but i could not work out if they were toys or housewares.
And a terrific shop of African made objects, CSAO Africa. Really heartbreaking that I could not go in! from hand painted step stools to Yoruba thrones.
See a related post about African fabric shops at my other blog,

Monday, August 5, 2013

Les Soeurs Anglaises

Oh, I am going soon!  I have been longing to go to les Soeurs Anglaises in France ever since I first saw an ad for it in Selvedge Magazine several years ago.  I leave Friday.  Paris first for a few days, then the train down to Angouleme and on to Briancon, where this magical textile retreat paradise is located.  I have already written about Jone Hallmark, who is teaching the week long workshop I am attending -- brilliantly creative, fun, and an enchanting person, she will lead what I might term a week long party of making for us lucky participants.

OK, I might just be gloating here but look at these photos and say that you envy me!  this is a major treat for me.  And there will always be Paris -- send me your favorite textile spots in Paris and I will follow up here when I get home.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Frugality and Customer Service

I am quite fond of the book, “the American Frugal Housewife”, by Mrs. Child.  It is dedicated “to those who are not ashamed of economy.”   Written in 1832, it is full of advice for a family who want to keep within the limits of their means: a true inspiration in our own indebted times!  My own parents grew up during the great Depression, and of necessity adapted frugality which stayed with them, and many of their generation, their entire lives.  Some of that rubbed off on me and my sisters, though the ensuing decades before the Great Recession of recent years persuaded many of our generation that thriftiness was no longer a needed virtue.  I am often struck now how much we need these old lessons – my children, though raised to be reasonably economical, have no idea what skimping means and no doubt consider it a fairly shameful activity.

So I have printed a number of household items with the first paragraph of Mrs Child’s book on frugality.  I have sold hankies printed with it at my etsy shop,  A few weeks ago I had an order for one of these hankies and sent it out.  Yesterday I received a note from the purchaser, who noted that she had found a spot on it, and did I think it might come out?  I was mortified: my studio is sometimes hazardously messy and I had no doubt it picked up something in transit – or maybe got a little smudge of ink on it during printing that had passed by the inspection process.  And I was totally out of hankie blanks.
Well, I am delighted with the spirit of the ensuing correspondence, and found that the entire episode reflected the spirit of the quote on the hankie:
NJ:  The hanky arrived with a black smudge. If I try to wash it out but am unsuccessful, may I exchange it for another one?
LFN: I am so sorry about that!  sure, I can make a refund but at the moment I am out of hankies and they are back ordered so I can't say when I could do a replacement.   I really apologize for this.  Le me know if that is what you would like.  Alternatively, I can give you a 50% refund if you decide you want to keep it with the smudge. 
NJ:  I'm going to try removing it with OxyClean gel. I'll let you know if it works! You don't have any clue what it might be, do you? 
LFN:  it may be ink from printing, in which case it probably won't come out.  Otherwise, no idea, as I wasn't even aware of it!  but let me know --  for the moment I have refunded 50% of the total to your Paypal account, but if you would prefer to send it back I will refund the balance.  I admire your thrifty spirit in trying the spot remover first!
NJ: It didn't come out, so you are probably right, but I've decided it fits perfectly with the sentiment in the quote: "Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it."
Here's another one: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." But thanks much for the discount!