A once upon a time Mecca for bohemian artists, a current delight for hobbyist packrats, a soothing escape from the madness of present time and circumstance.
The city of Paris is perched number one at the podium of my heart for a number of reasons, but right there, up near the top of my list (next to chocolate being a socially acceptable breakfast choice) is Marché Saint Pierre and the fabric district.
The holographic universe(s) that are the bargain bins outside of Tissus Reine and the aptly named Sacrés Coupons have become my new place of worship. There’s nothing like a leisurely wander in a northernly direction for some good old fashioned rummaging.
It has been a-brewin’ for a long time, but I’ve finally immersed myself in sewing and garment construction (my sincerest apologies to my friends who have had to listen to me chatter about this incessantly). Sewing has always been one of those vocations that I had a rough time getting into because I honestly just lacked the patience to slow down and take my time.
But here in Visa-less paradise, time is infinite..
It seems that the conditions are just right to focus on gaining competency with new techniques and then actually take some time to refine them. And if I should, say.. accidentally tumble into a tunnelling wormhole of endless instructional videos, lecturing me on how I too can master the French seam, then laissez-faire. At least I’ll be able to say I have some competency in French.
For whatever it is that truly comes together to create the perfect storm.. the conditions appear to be just right: I’m appalled with the garment industry, I’m cheap as hell, and I’m sick and tired of wearing flood pants.
From the Top of the Hill
If you’ve ever watched Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s beloved film Amélie, you might remember the scene of Carousel de Saint Pierre spinning away to a soundtrack of accordion musette. Scenes taken from Place Saint Pierre, just a short walk down the street from the photos above.
The selection of what you’ll find up in Montmarte is truly something to behold. It takes some time to see everything in the neighbourhood and know where to find what (my general sentiment about Paris), but there are many treasures to be discovered for those willing to look.
My favourite finds to date have been several 3m coupons (cuttings of fabric) for 5€, a stunning mustard-coloured viscose (7€), and a black silk charmeuse (7€). The bins up at Montmartre have me determined to master slippery fabrics. I will happily spend 7-9€ in supplies and sacrifice all of my daylight hours to the craft gods in exchange for a silk shirt.
The Delights of Slowing Down
I have a theory: that all of this is just (again) the natural outcome of the perfect storm of circumstances.
Metropolitan landscapes + overpriced terraces + lack of visa ÷ by infinite free time x the uncertainty of present day.. Gives you the products of all-consuming projects and a predicted through undetermined developing of skill sets.
There has been so much pleasure derived from launching into my recent works. I’ve realized that I have a profound like for conceptualization and planning— deciding what it is that I want to create, pouring into research about how and with what to create.. Then channelling the magpies that swoop through the intersection in front of my apartment: launching into a treasure-hunt through the streets of Paris for all the shiny pieces !
And finally, the peaceful retreat into cathartic meditation as creating unfolds.
The unexpected has been increased feelings of personal pride in what I am capable of doing, feelings of accomplishment. Less unexpected are the feelings of excitement that come with sharing what I’m working on with other people. But the really cool part? It’s watching others in-turn become inspired and listening to the wondrous ideas that spring forth from their creative wells.
What’s on the Menu
Yeah, good question. A few different things…
I have a couple of projects brewing, an idea for what to launch into for the fall. But in a very immediate future, I’ve got a little something to create as a birthday / moving gift for a friend of mine and some pattern design to sit down and actually do (I’ve been putting off working with pen and paper for a while so it’s high time for some good old fashioned illustration).
Yesterday’s visit to Montmartre didn’t have me bringing home any fabrics from the bins
(I promised myself I wouldn’t start buying more until I finished current projects and I’m sticking to that rule), though I do have some finishing to do on a couple of garments, a patch to serge and attach to an old French military veste..
I went on a mission for something specific and only brought back these black and blue sheets of felt from Tissus Reine that I will be using for a little something.. Maybe you can guess ? 🙂