10735040_1568682246687082_1412280970_nThis week I am really very excited to introduce a very special artist, someone who has inspired me immensely since I took the plunge into creating with textiles.

I don’t think I have ever seen an image of Emmas work, home and art that I haven’t loved and desired. Everything that Emma puts her hand to is incredibly beautiful and personal, delicate and feminine, she combines found objects, antique lace, vintage sequins and lace to make something very contemporary and utterly gorgeous to behold. My husband surprised me with one of her necklaces for my birthday and I have worn it ever since for any occasion where I want to feel special. Literally I attempt to put on a different necklace but always revert to her piece, it is a love affair!

When I started this series I always wanted to ask Emma to participate. I was fascinated to find out how she started working with textiles, how she went about creating her collections (was it the lace that found Emma or Emma who sought out a specific lace?), what inspired her, how did she manage to make so much beauty (in her home and work) with two young children (I’m still struggling) and was she actually human because seriously how can one woman be this talented (okay so I didn’t ask this question specifically but really!).

All I can say is that when Emma responded and said she would love to participate – I think I might have squealed and perhaps even performed a little happy dance around the living room – but of course I did.

Emma has shared some really wonderful insights and snapshots into her life, her inspiration and her creative business and even glimpses into her jewellery sketchbooks. I hope you love discovering more about Emma as much as I did.

P1130314wOn the first piece of textile that made her heart sing:

 “As a kid, I used to keep in my pocket my grannys embroidered  handkerchief or my grandpas traditional “mouchoir a carreaux”  but my first real textile love was the Dries Van Noten embroidered scarf from the 1998-99 collection” (see photograph above)

P1130340wOn her creative process:

I use the pieces I have found quite quickly, just after 2 weeks, if I am not in a middle of a big order. I am very free, I will choose anything I think is unusual and interesting and I am not tight to a theme. I get help sometimes for embroidery when I have got lots of orders. For the past few month, I have been working with an art director, Audrey Bozetto and it is so refreshing…I use to be a stylist so it handy for photography. I know some amazing photographers too such as Kristin Perers. “

f29cd351b94098c6ed312bf264cb0d55“I have a little corner in my living room so I can work anytime I feel like it, almost all the time… My lace is in vintage boxes underneath my desk and when I am planning the collection I am keeping it  in veggies recycled boxes… My sequins and beads are in a vintage box with draws.”

NELS120801-TRIBES-PAPUA-NEW-GUINEA-021Photograph from GOROKO series by photographer Jimmy Nelson

On inspiration:

“Each season, it will be something different, from Hmong textiles to Bauhaus paintings… This season it was the exuberance of the Great Gatsby meet the craft and face paint of the tribes (Jimmy Nelson photography)”

P1130360wOn dealing with creative block:

“I don’t have creative blocks, I have repetitive strain injury so that is my block… While I rest my arm or think, I watch many inspiring videos on youtube or arte about craft, travels series and also creative projects on science, astronomy, economy or education.”

P1130377wHer favourite places for sourcing materials:

“I love to go to markets during my summer holidays in France or Italy. I know vintage textiles exhibitors in fairs, I have been working for over 10 years with them, they call me as soon as they have new materials… My favorites are Alfies and Portobello in London.”

P1130357wOn where she is happiest:

“Doing embroidery, weaving, running or on holidays with my family.”

P1130344wEmmas favourite corner in her house:

“It changes…the mantel piece in the living room, black and white display with jet bead vintage necklaces, lots of silver mirrors and sequins vintage ribbons…”
 P1130352wOn her Spring Summer 2015 collection:

“My theme was dance: Lil buck, ballet and opera costume, Chanel iridescent embroidery and Rochas spring-summer 2014 collection (the brocade fabric and feather shoes)”

Lil Buck

P1130321wI am a little obsessed with Emmas weavings – if anyone is reading – this is on my Christmas wishlist – pretty pretty please!

On juggling a successful creative business & motherhood:

“For the moment, it is easy because the school is five minutes from home and food markets as well.  My work is very relaxed, I know the buyers of the shops that I have stocked for 10 years, I am never late and always so thankful so keeping a good relationship is my motto. My kids are very independent so they play and create next to my desk. We have time together from 4pm to 8pm time to play, to cook, be together…”

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“I love the idea to be free from belongings… But from travelling around I have accumulated pieces like paintings, books or fabrics and I treasure them.”

P1130356wSome of Emmas favourite treasures including a vintage linen sake bag from Kyoto

58110602997509f33e68e50662b67465Interior » Kristin Perers | Photographer – Interior, Still life, Food, Fashion & Portraits

I urge you to check out Emmas beautiful jewellery on her website and for daily inspiration you can follow her instagram here.

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So I wanted to share these earlier but between a sick little boy who is off school and photographing some of the treasures I found at the weekend – I have delayed posting about my treasure truffling excursion at the weekend – so without further ado.

I do apologise in advance for the not so spectacular photographs, there was the most hideous spot lighting that turned everything a weird shade of green that combined with me having my hands full of ribbon and silk bobbins!

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I’m often asked where I source my antique textiles and the answer is pretty straightforward. Firstly I am incredibly fortunate to be married to a famous silk family, the Faure family of St. Etienne and over the years I’ve managed to source within the family several echantillon books. Some of my finds were forgotten in beautiful wooden boxes in nooks under stairs, others stashed away in nondescript dusty old cardboard boxes, I even discovered some 1860s silk samples in a rusty military box under a childrens bed in a cabin in the woods of the family home. A lot of my favourite gems were found scrunched up in bin bags with only the vague glint of fil d’or giving away their potential for greatness.

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As my collecting turned to hoarding turned to obsessive desire for everything antique and textile I extended my search to include local vide greniers, the summer brocante fairs and most recently textile flea markets.

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At the weekend I drove 3 hours from Lacoste into the heart of the Rhone region, silk and passementerie country in search of ribbons and silks. My logic being, this is silk territory therefore I will find LOTS of silk and trims. I was not at all disappointed but really surprised that only one or two stands had passementerie and a lot of others were focussed on crafts, buttons (non antique), knitting and fabrics (new not old). I was delighted to talk to these women (and a few husbands brought along for the heavy lifting / toilet breaks), fellow textile addicts and makers.

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My favourite moment was when I connected with a lovely older lady, and through my not perfect french we laughed over how we both loved the smell of old fabrics as we ironed them out after salvaging them from dirty bin bags. Forty or so years seperated us but we both shared that love for silk and old treasures.

P1230481Wonderful handmade lace

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This lady was my favourite seller – she had an amazing eye – that or we both have really similiar tastes. Once she sensed my keen interest (putting it midly) for everything she had chosen that day – she started taking things out from boxes hidden under the stand. She would unfold linens and explain to me their specific use, an incredible square of embroidered and monogrammed linen which was used for covering the pillows (not a pillow case but one to hide your other pillows), or a beautiful embroidered sheet that would be put on the bed of a new mother for when visitors would come to the home to see the new baby. She was so giving of her knowledge – I spent about an hour just admiring everything she had in her stand.

P1230488Beautiful boy

P1230490I loved the little presentation touches on this particular stand

P1230491How incredible is the contrast between the purple velvet and the jet passementerie trim – it was far too expensive for me to buy

P1230506I fell in love with these beautiful little handmade dolls with 30s costumes.

P1230505Some mothers braved the flea market with their children, I caught this little boy pulling on his mothers trousers wanting to go home… not at all interested in the piles of fabric.

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Lesage et Lemarie of Paris

by Ruth on November 17, 2014

in Creativity + Kids, Inspiration

Visual storytellers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg of Ann Street Studios have a beautiful blog & photography portfolio and I fell in love with their reportage on the ateliers Lesage & Lemarié in  Paris. You can see their full article here.

Jamie spent a week in Lacoste this summer and you can read her features on Lacoste here.

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Look at those beads….and the brown paper wrapping. In the atelier of Lesage, thousands of wooden drawers hold threads of different weight and colour, beads, crystals – in all there are over 60 tons of materials for creating their embroidered art.

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Incredible hand sewn sequin applications on tulle for Chanel – up close this is just drop dead gorgeous haute couture craftmanship.

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What I wouldn’t give to peak closer into each drawer

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Lemaries incredible millinery flower tools, I’ve come across one or two in a belle brocante but I’ve never seen quite so many in one place.

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I ADORE these jewel colours on the black tulle

Thank you Jamie for this intimate visit into these ateliers!

All photography Jamie Beck

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This textile obsession of mine is a quite the trip. In 2010, I knew nothing of silk other than not to through it in a hot wash, now four years later, I am buried in antique French textiles. You will never catch me willingly ironing my husbands shirts (bad wife) but give me a dusty box of crumpled up morsels of 19th Century ribbon and I’ll happily iron for hours. I am addicted to the smell of dust and silk as it unfolds its beauty to me…

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I discovered a beautiful cardboard box with a department store drawing on the outside. Inside a beautiful jumble of dusty pink, lace and mousseline and silk. Collars and dress trims, even a lace lingerie bodice / braserie trim. Not at all what I would usually be drawn to as I’m trying to be very good and only acquire items that I will be able to use in my jewelery making.

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Despite my reservations, the box and its beautiful contents called out to me – so I took a deep breath and made it mine.

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At home I unwrapped everything carefully, smoothing down the decades creased folds. The incredible detail and love that has gone into making each piece is a wonder.

P1230312Detail of a lace collar that was inside the Samaritaine box

P1230259Detail – Lace Lingerie Bodice with original tag

When I went digging a bit further I discovered that the Samaritaine was an important department store in Paris, opened in 1869 by Ernest Cognacq. A true entrepreneur, he started out by selling ties under an umbrella on the Pont Neuf, then expanded to a small space on the Rue de la Monnaie, then by 1900 he and his wife (his business partner, how very modern!) expanded their business to become the “Grands Magasins de La Samaritaine”.  The department store operated as a “collection of individually owned stores, each managed by true “petits patrons” who operated in concert yet autonomously.”

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I will be adding these beautiful items to the Exquisite Threads shop this afternoon

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Memories of dance, E-Traces by Lesia

by Ruth November 14, 2014
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So beautiful … tracing the steps of a dancer using wearable electronics designed by Lesia Trubat González called E-Traces. “The concept of Electronic Traces is based on capturing dance movements and transforming them into visual sensations through the use of new technologies.” Lesia   E-TRACES, memories of dance from Lesia Trubat on Vimeo.  

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Les Petits Bonheurs – April Rivers Locke

by Ruth November 13, 2014
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I am so so happy to introduce this weeks inspiration for ‘Les Petits Bonheurs’, textile artist, April Rivers Locke. Just as the summer was winding down, I invited a friend over for a long overdue aperitif in our home, she asked if it would be okay to bring a friend, and this friend was April, […]

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Soundtrack to my day – Jenny Lewis

by Ruth November 13, 2014
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I am really loving this song and have Jennys album on repeat while I work on new jewellery this morning. I also just love the “magical rainbow suit” look she has created for this album, she calls it ““graffiti Gram Parsons,” an updated take on the “beautiful, gaudy” Nudie suit that the Parsons famously wore […]

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Found treasures

by Ruth November 10, 2014
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I passed a sign for a ‘Depot Vente’, the French version of a consignment store. I’ve passed this store more than a thousand times on my way to leave Charlotte to creche but never had the time to stop and have a look. On a whim, I pulled off the main road and into the […]

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Children DIY: Autumn leaves & Antique Ribbon

by Ruth November 7, 2014
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Merrilee of one of my all time favourite blogs, Mer Mag, just posted a DIY feature on how to create crowns using some of our antique ribbons (from our family’s archives) and autumn leaves. I had created a special silk treasury kit with a mix of ribbons from late 1800s up to 1960s and I […]

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Les Petits Bonheurs – Robyn Parrish, The French Circus

by Ruth November 6, 2014
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I am so happy to share with you the vision and story of one of my favourite jewellery makers, Robyn Parrish of The French Circus.  I discovered Robyn a few years ago as I went in search of fellow makers who incorporated found objects, buttons, buckles and antique jewellery findings into their work. At the […]

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