Marie-Renée Otis, artist in residence in Paris, 

Fellow of the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec 

The Thirteenth Week

Anne Woringer Quilter of art

Mrs Woringer waits for me at the top of the staircase of the 7 floor building where she lives and work. What an energetic and productive woman she is! 

And also, so generous. For me, she empties her dressers and cabinets to display her magnificent quilts. Mrs Woringer pioneered quilting in France in the ‘70s. At the beginning she designed traditional motifs but rapidly she innovated with new ideas to add light in her pieces. 

Because she was unable to find exactly the color of fabric she was looking for, Anne dyed herself her textiles. Those dyeing processes elaborate complex systems of enrolled, hidden, plated or tied up fabric to apply dye only on certain zones.

Later in her career, in her second phase of exploration, Anne Woringer proceeded in the reverse way. Instead of applying colors she managed to extract colors from manufactured fabrics, the bleaching process then began in her artistic expression. The results were surprising. How come different textiles, under the same bleaching treatment, may turn out brown, beige or simply white? Mrs Woringer used all those surprises in further quilted pieces.

With all those processes, Anne’s pieces of art are truly elaborate work. Once the different textiles are assembled the embroidery's part begins. She uses chain stitch; straight lines so dense they become a new fabric by itself; or at the opposite tiny stitches in the way of Japanese Sashiko. 

Her style distinguishes itself by the labyrinth shape designs. They are her favorite motifs. And one can be blissfully lost in the contemplation of those tiny roads full of circumvolutions.

Grasping the ensemble, Woringer’s quilts give an impression of lightness by the choice of textures and colors. In reality, they weight a lot, composed of multiple layers of linings and fleeces. The final results irradiate imposing presences, they liberate a sensation of energy.

There it is: Anne Woringer’s pieces of art generate the same energy as the artist herself!

I wonder, is it always the case with every piece of art?

Anne Woringer


Abysses, closer

Abysses, detail

Maryanne patch
Maryanne patch, detail

Open House of the Painting Artist Darina Yaneva, from Bulgaria

Darina stayed one month at Cité international des arts, in Paris (where I also reside).

Darina likes gardens. Every painting in her studio shows scenes of nature, gardens and green lawns. In Paris, she mainly painted the Jardins du Luxembourg, an astonishing park near the University of Sorbonne (on the left shore).

First, Darina sketches scenes with colored pencils. Later she reworks her sketches in larger scales but this time with dry pastel sticks. This media gives soft colors and a velvet texture.

Darina’s husband and herself travel all around Europe for drawing and painting. Where ever are their journeys, they paint mainly gardens as subjects. 

Mrs Yaneva succeeds to make abstraction of heavy traffic, the busy boulevards, the solicitations and stimulations of the cities to only focus on parks, gardens trees and the green lawns.

Sea of Branches

Lelièvre, a Specialized Boutique in Historical Textiles

On the second floor of a posh building, I had the opportunity to visit, the Lelièvre’s show-room. Like in a museum I could admire hangings, large size samples, hanging from ceilings to floor.

You desire a Louis XIII interior decor?
You can choose among flower, fruit and bird designs.

You prefer Louis XIV style?
There is a whole lot of historical scenes and mythological tableau.

The style Louis XV is easily recognizable by the sinuous lines adorned with blossomed flowers and motifs floating around. 

After the French Revolution, palm and rose flower designs are specific to the Directoire and the Empire eras.

Later on in History, large flower wreath designs on simple dark backgrounds characterize the Restauration style.

This is fascinating how political regimens influenced the aesthetic of embroidery.  

What kept my attention the most was the collection Patrimony of Tassinari & Chatel (a silk weaver family firm from Lyon). Lelièvre owns thousands of samples and historical documents allowing modern fabric craftsmen to precisely reconstitute and weave those exceptional textiles from the former centuries.

Contemporary lavish interior decors of rich people may benefit of these rarities. More widely, the Patrimony Collection procures reliable knowledge for theatre's and cinema's decors or for museum’s historical reconstitutions. 

Of course, there is a price to have access to these inestimable fabrics. The authenticity touch, the 100% silk thread, the variety and the richness of colors, the French savoir-faire, the high end quality have a price authentically huge and impressive.

Textiles manufactured by Lelièvre’s, from the Tassinari & Chatel collection,
close-up of weaving

Style Louis XIV, set up of fabric yardage

Style Louis XIV, set up of fabric yardage

Louis XIV style, damask silk fabric, closer

Louis XIV style, damask silk fabric, detail

Louis XV style, damask fabric, silk and cotton

Louis XV style, damask fabric, silk and cotton, close-up

Directoire style, lampas fabric 100% silk

Directoire style, lampas fabric 100% silk, detail

The photo research and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault

The Youth Manager Appointee

As most of you know, I am an appointee on the EAC Board of Directors responsible for the youth embroiderers, those members who are 7 to 21 years of age. I keep theYouth membership list and make sure it is up to date. Four times a year, I write and mail a newsletter, Youth Embroiderers' News, which is full of stitching patterns, riddles, EAC news, news from Youth members that has been sent to me and stitching goodies. 

Usually the goody is fabric and threads, but can be anything stitching related if I have enough on hand. The issue that will be going out this month will have the instructions for Joyce Gill's Lady Slipper Mug Mat and enough felt in four colours to make four of the mats. I also act as a resource for fabric and threads to our Youth chapters. They let me know what they need and if I have it, I mail it to them for use in their programmes.

When a new Youth member joins, they are sent a New Member's package which includes a previous newsletter with goodies, a Needlework Notebook, 2-3 embroidery kits, a book showing how to do 100 stitches, six skeins of DMC embroidery floss and a Youth brochure they can give to a friend. Everything is put into a portfolio binder with their membership card.

If a Youth member answers a riddle or sends me something for the newsletter, they receive a prize. I can't express my appreciation enough for all the adult members who send me donations of fabric, threads, books, patterns, etc. for the Youth members. A special donation of card kits is being sent by Karen Dudzinski, the owner of Textured Treasures, for the next newsletter's goody.

I now have twelve boxes of donated items and am always ready to receive more. You know how it is, you want to stitch a pattern so you go to your stash and you're missing one or two items. Well, that's the way it is with the Youth goodies. I decide on a goody, go to the boxes and I don't have enough on hand. I always feel that the more I have the less often I have to change my mind about the goody I send.

I recently received one box that Beryl Burnett schlepped to the Prairie Pacific Regional Meeting (PPRM) in Qualicum Beach, BC to give to Pat Ross of the Vancouver Guild of Embroiderers'. Pat then schlepped the box and other donations from the PPRM to Vancouver. I had a wonderful time drinking tea and chatting with Pat when I picked up the donations.

I also received three boxes from a woman who saw me at the Stitch in Public Day our guild held at the White Rock Library. She was moving and downsizing and wanted to give away patterns, fabrics and threads, but didn't want to throw them out or give them to a thrift store. During my chat with her, I mentioned that EAC has a Youth program and she was absolutely thrilled that her cherished items would be used by the next generation of stitchers. 

If you have any stitching items that you don't want any more, please consider putting them aside for our Youth members. As I attend Seminar each year, send them with one of your guild members who is going and they can give them to me there and you get to save on mailing costs.

My next blog will be after my son's wedding and I'll be telling you all about it and I'll have pictures!

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

The Museum of the Invalides

In 1670, Louis the XIV of France began the construction of this military hospital for injured soldiers and elderly soldiers. 

At the acme of the use of these facilities over 5000 soldiers were hosted. Nowadays, only 100 people live there. A department of trauma is still in operation.

The vivid reality of war continues to be embodied in the Invalides’ corridors. I was shocked when I saw a young man, in a wheel chair, his head straightened by a cervical collar. He was lost in his thoughts and apparently he was fresh arrived from the battle field. Being a Veteran refers a lot more than to the mere parade of elderly soldiers on Remembrance Day...

In addition of being a hospital, les Invalides assume the function of a huge museum of warfare. The themes of exhibitions cover warfare from the Middle Ages through the Napoleon’s Wars till the Second World War. I sustain only a light interest for war matters. After 2 hours of weapons, I had enough. And then I recognized a specific goldwork 
embroidery design on a uniform. A design that I had learned a few weeks earlier in Cervières, at les Grenadières’ School. Suddenly I realized that embroidery was everywhere in the Museum of Invalides.


There were embroideries on the uniform's collars, epaulettes, caps and on lavish high ranked uniform's officers. In the St-Louis church (on the Invalides' ground) a multitude of flags, taken to the enemy, were in exhibition. In the past, flags were also embroidered.

These exhibited flags were so meaningful: holed, stained frayed flags. So worn out that at the end they look like simple rags. They had been witness of such horror.

Embroidery is truly everywhere, even on battle fields.

The museum the Invalides

Military cap embroidered with gold

The Lognon Workshops, 

                specialized in Haute Couture pleated fabrics

Have you ever noticed how the Hermès scarves are made of pleated silk fabric? Now I know how they are made.

I visited the workshop where they are produced: the Lognon Workshop.

The pleating of fabrics is a 100% team work. From what I saw, for instance, 3 people were required for one Hermès scarf. First the artisans have to ajust a squared silk fabric in between 2 kraft paper matrices. Those matrices are of all designs and at first glance they seem like origami folding.

Once the fabric is well positioned, the 3 layers are rolled tightly and locked in an autoclave for a certain time. The steam guarantees permanent pleats.

Monsieur Lognon and his team welcomed me with great hospitality. Monsieur Lognon gave me many samples of pleated fabrics for trying on my future embroidery pieces. He even proposed to me, to come back with a peice of fabric of my choice to be pleated by his expert hands.

Imagine my luck! I will stitch creations with fabric from Lognon’s workshop, a true rarity.

Indeed, after a fruitful career M. Lognon is retiring and has sold his enterprise to the Haute Couture Chanel House.

A web link to a short documentary on pleated fabrics

Matrices of Kraft paper

Example of pleated fabric

Example of Haute Couture jacket in pleated fabric

The Valentin’s Workshops

Slowly I familiarized myself with the Parisian architecture. Paris has a lot of 6 or 7 story buildings. From the streets one only sees huge wooden doors. To get inside, one needs the code or rings the bell. Fortunately, when access is allowed by the buzzer, there is no need to push those heavy doors. There is another little door, directly cut into the larger one! 

Once pass through the little door, one isn’t really indoor. The doorway gives access to the courtyard and not to the indoor building. In fact, the courtyard allows access to staircases leading to upper stories.

Like in the French movies, often I meet the concierge and he (or she) guides me toward the exact part of the building where the person I want to visit is located. The concierges are very useful.

I adore those courtyards. They are of all sizes, with little or much vegetation, narrow or spacious, cobbled or not, clean or filthy. But they all procure an Eden of tranquility, from the noise of the busy city.

The Valentin’s workshop that I visited is located in such a courtyard. Mrs Valentin works there with professional embroiderers. Her specialty is scene costumes for cabaret shows. For instance, she designed some costumes for the Lido cabaret and the Folies bergères. She also creates uniforms for members of the prestigious Académie des arts. 

When the actress Jeanne Moreau was acknowledged a few years ago, Madame Valentin confectioned her uniform.

In the Valentin’s workshop, productivity and speed are a must. The floor was covered with sequins when I visited, no time for cleaning up. Time means money and the team stitches and produces and stitches and produces...

The actress Jeanne Moreau wearing her embroidered Académie des arts uniform
Handmade dance costumes

The necklace and the headgear are stitched with sequins

The Museum Nissim de Camondo

The museum Nissim de Camondo is located near the park Monceau, in posh surroundings. Its backyard is neighbor to the beautiful park. And what a marvelous manor is this museum.

The Camondo family has a dramatic history. The Camondos were Jews originated from Istanbul (turkey). They founded the biggest bank of the Ottoman empire. In 1850, Nissim de Camondo and his brother decided to migrate to France. 

They bought two contiguous lands, in Paris.

When Nissim died in 1911, his son Moïse inherited the house, and as a history buff of the 18th century period, he renovated and decorated the house in the style of the little Trianon of Versailles castle.

Moïse had 2 children and 2 grandchildren. His son, Nissim (named after his grandfather) died during the First World War. Moïse in mourning closed down his business, the bank, and decided to donate the house and its content to the French state at his death, under the condition that the museum must be named after his son: Nissim de Camondo. The museum was inaugurated in 1936. 

Tragically, Moïse’s daughter and his 2 grandchildren were deported and exterminated in Auschwitz. This rich lady had the opportunity to escape the Nazi’s regime but she was convinced she was protected from harm, because her father had donated so much to the French state and her brother had died for the country.

Sadly the Camondo’s family name isn’t perpetuated by individuals but solely by the name of the museum.

Everything in this house breathes wealth: the kitchen, the bathrooms even the hot water tank. In the kitchen, I truly felt like if I was a cameo in Downton Abbey program. All the details were so alike: the copper pans, the telephone, the dumbwaiter, the tiles in the bathrooms, the towel heaters, etc.

The splendid house is still a little bit inhabited by the Camondos, there are photos of them on the bedroom dressers...

Museum Nissim de Camondo

The kitchen

The bathroom

The small cabinet for china in a little corner of the kitchen...

The grand salon

The photo research and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault
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About EAC

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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.

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