Marie-Renée Otis, artist in residence in Paris,
Fellow of the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec
The Tenth Week

Madame Bijoux (Mrs. Jewelry)

Until now I’ve described the beautiful scenes of Paris. I must have specified those were the touristic boroughs of Paris. Rapidly there is a change of picture when one moves out of town.

For instance I went to Villejuif (we could translate this suburb’s name by Jewstown). This is 20 km from downtown, but the subway goes that far.

I wanted to visit the fashion accessory maker Madame Bijoux, aka Dominique Fille. Among other things, this artisan made the jewels for the famous French movie La reine Margot. My first contact was by email, “her” answer indicated the way to her company facilities, Domo-Costumes, theater costume provider.

So I looked for a red house on Rohri street in Villejuif. Well, the decor is like a standard dull suburb in Canada. The only evidences that I wasn’t in North America were the cafés, the slate roofs and an outdoor public market. But not at all a charming market full of colors, fruits and vegetables. Rather an ordinary market, retailing goods like in a Dollarama or 99-cent-only-store. Finally I found the red house on the narrow street in question, as big as a church!

I asked to see Madame Bijoux and guess who personified the lady, Mohammed Gasmi, a man! He explained to me that the real Madame Bijoux, Dominique Fille, passed away a few years ago. Mohammed and Dominique had founded the company together. When she died he decided to keep going.

Nonetheless, he invited me to visit the premises.

Never, never, never I have had seen as much clothes in the same place: clothes of all sizes, all colors, of all historical periods, of all styles for theater plays, shows and movies. Also there are fur coats, trousers to dress an entire army, tons of shirts, ties, shoes, hats, dresses from floor to ceiling.

In addition to the ready-to-wear clothes, there are fabrics, special accessories, laces, threads, ribbons and jewelry for the confection of more costumes. In the jewelry department this is the same scenario: boxes, crates, cases, cabinets, lockers, chests full to bursting.

How can someone find something in this orgy of accessories?! Very impressive. Apparently the classification system works. Costumes and accessories are actually rented for movie productions and they come back for being methodically tidy.

Mohammed Gasmi wearing a mask

A glimpse of the storage system at Domo-Costumes'

One of the jewelry from La reine Margot movie,
made by Dominique Fille

The purple gown of the La reine Margot movie

The purple gown and the necklace,
 the complete outfit,
 minus the actress Isabelle Adjani
Cécile Boccara

Cécile Boccara’s boutique is located on Passage du Grand-Cerf (something like: The Path of the Large Deer...) and is specialized in accessories.

The Passage du Grand-Cerf street offers a special ambiance. This is a narrow alley lined with little boutiques and open door workshops. The day light reaches us from the 4th floor. A glass roof covers this former standard street. Some boutiques lead to basements or upstairs, allowing more workspace and storage. This place is enchanting, I could spent the whole morning just looking at the showcases.

I didn't meet Cécile Boccara in person, instead, her collaborator welcomed me.
Cécile Boccara’s workshop designs ethereal jewelry and tiaras. They are made of rhinestones, peacock feathers, sewn pearl laces, flowers as delicate as butterflies. Every confection is feminine, fluid and so pretty.

Madame Boccara is famous for her collaboration with the Haute Couture designer Christian Lacroix.

The Passage du Grand-Cerf street

The Boutique’s front door

Tiara from Boccara’s collection, around 168€ (245$ CD)

The same tiara in the location of the source of its inspiration

The making of jewelry in Boccara’s workshop

Open House of Rima Eslammaslak, from Iran

Rima teaches the Arts at the University of Tehran, she’s a photograph artist, so for her open house she exhibits... photographs, of course. I was particularly attracted by a marvelous horse head’s photo.

The Rima’s exhibition installation was meticulously coordinated. Her little apartment was plunged in total darkness. One at a time she turned on the light over each of the 8 photographs of the exhibition. With the result that the visitors had the impression they were simultaneously the viewers and the exhibited objects. When the bulbs flashed, it was like if the horse glanced at us.

One of the visitors was a lady from Greece, a professional Art critic. She lives in Paris nearby and she likes to visit artists’ open houses at Cité international des arts (where I live).
She can’t help herself, she has to share her critic comments with the artists that she visits.

A Rima Eslammaslak’s artistic photo,
 a mix of the use of two dimensions and three dimensions,
 the photo camera is a real object.


The photo research and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault

We had a very nice time last Saturday visiting the Vancouver Aquarium for my future daughter-in-law's birthday.  Family and friends all showed up so Deja could show us why she loves the Aquarium. It was a wonderful afternoon seeing beluga whales, African penguins, sea otters, sea lions, seals, porpoises, jellyfish, sharks and lots and lots of fishes.  The jellyfish tank was incredible with about 6 different kinds and it was lit beautifully.  Great idea for embroidery!  Bruce and I gave Deja a 48 x 60 inch blanket that had the characters from How to Train your Dragon 2 woven on it.  She loved it and all I can say is, thank heavens for the Internet.

We then went to a new restaurant in Vancouver that opened the first of June, Allstar Wings and Ribs.  The food was very good and I loved the fact that my Cinque de Mayo burger was actually spicy hot.  It actually made my nose run!  And you wouldn't believe how wonderful the white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake was.  It was really to die for.  I have never had a cheesecake as creamy and luscious as this one was.

I have also spent the last few weeks making the quilted bags for the wedding, which is drawing ever nearer.  They are turning out very well and I'm pleased with them . I should have them finished by mid-September (4 done, 6 to go) if everything goes well.

In between the bags, I am also making table runners with Superhero fabric and will be taking the first samples to the venue to try with the table settings to make sure everything looks good.  Everything is on track for the wedding in November and when the bags are completed, I will be starting my dress.  I have bought the fabric and even found an evening bag kit with cross stitched peacock feathers that will match the over-tunic on my dress.  I should be receiving the kit next week and will be able to work on the cross stitching in the evenings.

I haven't been neglecting my Youth duties either.  We had a big donation from a Saskatchewan guild that was closing and that enabled us to purchase a book for each of our Youth members. The books have been ordered and are in my hands.  The Board approved the purchase of the Royal School of Needlework's Essential Stitch Guides, Canvaswork, Crewelwork or Bead Embroidery.  Each Youth member indicated which book they wanted and they will be mailed out in the next few days.

I am a dual member of Virtual Threads and have taken on the Treasurer's position.  I have been enjoying sending out Paypal invoices and keeping the books up to date.  In addition, I'm also doing two SAL's through Virtual Threads, a Fibreluscious Pincushion and Save the Stitches from Blackwork Journey. 

Oh, how I love retirement!

I hope you are all enjoying the summer and getting in lots of stitching time.

~ Linda Brenner

Do you ever have an experience 
that makes you wonder
if you have been living under a rock?!

I recently had two such experiences. (I guess I don't get out and about enough).

I am participating in the EAC Cyber Chapter scissor fob exchange and thought I would like to explore the use of larger beads to decorate the corner opposite the loop. ( I had seen an example of this in the Cyber Chapter secret stitcher album). 

so.. off to the local craft store in search of that perfect bead, or beads. What a world of beads ... Wow... far beyond the seed beads I have been using to enhance my stitching.

What a selection.. I did not know where to start (or stop either).

As you can see from the attached image, I have more than the few I was looking for! Lots of applications to explore in my future.

Having explored their web site many times, I decided to pay a visit to the embroidery shop in Boucherville, Quebec, (conveniently located off Route 20 at exit 92).

I was looking for one of their prepared pieces, ready for embroidery in one form or another... oh the selection... 

I was there close to an hour and only viewed a small selection of what they have.

In the end I settled on a couple with roses and butterflies. 

Not sure when I will get to them, but I could not leave them behind. In addition to lots of ready to stitch pieces they also carry the many different DMC threads and a wide selection of ribbons. 

and on a Very positive note, I now have stitching glasses. 

For more years than I want to admit I have been stitching with my trifocals at the tip of my nose, looking over them which means I have to really move my head up to look at others. 

....not the best for an aging neck. 

These glasses came up in conversation in one of the Cyber Chapter chats.

They are the opposite from reading glasses. The distance portion is at the very top of the frames and nothing below, so it is easy to look under the lens to stitch and it is only a matter of shifting my eyes to see those around me.  These make my stitching so much easier.

I hope your summer is going as you would wish... mine is great (now that summerlike weather has arrived)

Until the next time, happy stitching
Marie Cron

Marie-Renée Otis, artist in residence in Paris, 
Fellow of the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec 

Haute Couture Fabrics

In Paris, the borough Faubourg St-Honoré is reputed to be chic and elegant. One can find there the boutiques of the most famous brands. Many of them have a liveried doorman on duty. Do you picture the luxury of this neighbourhood?

The boutique Janssens & Janssens, specialised in Haute Couture fabrics, is also located in Faubourg St-Honoré, on the little street Anjou. I found in that store sumptuous fabrics: embroidered silk, duchess satin (heavy silk satin, 129 g per square metre), organza (rigid veil, 60 g per square metre), radzimir (heavy twill silk, 128 g per square metre, broken twill weave), laces, percale (high quality of very fine cotton) and cashmere in every colors of the rainbow (fine silky wool fabric, 80 g per square metre).

Those fabrics are richly embroidered, textured, openworked, embossed, indented, machine made or handmade, according to Françoise Janssens’ specifications. Janssens & Janssens work for Haute Couture designers for many years now, consequently influencing the newest streams in fashion.
Françoise Jenssens in her shop

Janssens’ clientele comes from the Middle East, the North Africa, the Far East, the South America, in short from everywhere around the world. Those fabrics are in fact destined to aristocracy and royal weddings.

For my part, I went at Jenssens’ for purchasing a little piece of moiré fabric. I need it to practice the new technique I learned in Joigny, the Pinceauté (see Travelogue no 8 for more explanations and photos).

This visit at Jenssens’ made me quite humble, even a little bit discouraged.

Everything in embroidery has been already made and at perfection!

Embroidered Satin sold at Jenssens’

Duchess Satin, heavy silk satin, 129 g per square metre

Organza, rigid veil, 60 g per square metre

Radzimir, heavy twill silk, 128 g per square metre, broken twill weave

Percale, high quality of very fine cotton

Cashmere, fine silky wool fabric, 80 g per square metre, 
here a blend of silk and Cashmere goat wool

To continue to dream, here is a link to an English short video for a virtual visit of the boutique

Open house at Sang-Won Lee’s Studio, 
from South Korea

A big mural is hanged in Lee Sang-Won’s flat. An entire wall, from ceiling to floor, composed by even sized carton squares, 10 x 15 inches, on these squares: watercolor paintings everywhere, swimmer subjects everywhere, men, women, children, everybody is in bathing suits. But they are faceless.  Nevertheless, their gestures are very expressive. They play in the water. We can see they have fun, they enjoy the Summer weather.

The characters in the paintings are faceless, there is no water, no beach, no sun, no landscape. Where do those scenes happen? Are they located in South Korea or in France? Well, those characters have no citizenship. They are simply human beings.

The ensemble of the paintings gives a very dynamic effect and achieves this with so few details! The richness created with emptiness.

One of the watercolor paintings by Sang-Won Lee

The Archeological Crypt Museum of Notre-Dame of Paris

At least once a week I pass in front of the archeological crypt of Notre-Dame but I’m not attracted to visit it. Why would I want to visit it? The weather is superb, the streets are full of a colorful crowd, the life of the city fascinates me. There is no reason to bury myself underground.

And then I thought, maybe I’m missing something unique, maybe I let escape a significant thing. I’m in Paris not only for embroidery or the on-the-street museums, but I'm also here for the under-street museums, the bowels of the city. So I went down to the crypt.

It wasn’t as much dark or as vast that I had imagined. This museum shows the beginning of Paris, 2 000 years ago: Lutetia. At the time, Paris was a prosperous harbour, flourishing under Roman’s occupation of Gaul. Those ruins gave me another idea, eventually to visit les Arènes de Lutèce (Arenas of Lutetia), located in the 5th borough.

In the crypt museum, computers help the visitors to make a trip on the History lane. Among others, there are 3D simulations of the building of Notre-Dame of Paris, during the 13th century. As viewers, we can walk the narrow streets, stop at the fishmonger’s stand, buy some warm bread at another stall, turn around and go back toward another narrow street.

A convenient travel in Time, made possible by modern high tech.

The Archeological Crypt Museum, a former city under the actual city

The photo research and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault

Find out more at the Embroiderers' Association of Canada website.
EAC is not responsible for content at external links provided within this blog.

About EAC

My photo
The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

Our aim is to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery through education and networking.

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Follow by Email

Search the EAC Blog