Friday, December 7, 2012

Traveling Creatively - Paris

We don't usually post personal photos and stories on the StitchCraft blog, however I thought I'd share some of the creative aspects of my recent trip to Paris and London.  I choose to share, as I relied on blogs of like-minded individuals and personal creative contacts to plan my visits.
Between the charming old buildings and welcoming cafes, I keep my eye out for the things that interest me most.  While I had jotted a few spots down from my research, I stumbled upon a few pleasant surprises.  Spotted at the end of a side street, this was an adorable shop with buttons, trim, a bit of fabric (Liberty) and wool.  Just what one would envision a small Parisian store to be.  No English speakers and quite a few customers.  I did purchase a pair of Eiffel Towel shaped scissors.

Another surprise was in the BHV department store.  Not a glitzy landmark but we stopped in and found it to be a huge shop with everything!  Power tools to high ticket purses.  My happy stumble was it's  arts and craft department!  Full selection of fine art supplies along with trendy craft items.  Washi Tape, scrapbooking items, and a large display of decoupage (pictured).  That seamed to be a big trend.  They had a line of wonderful printed tissue paper and medium (like a Mod Podge).  I brought some candy printed papers (not surprised?) and other bright and fun choices.

We did stop by the famous Galeries Lafayette department store that had it's Christmas decor and holiday windows on display.  The three-story tree was a color changing marvel of sparkly beauty.

High on my bucket list was a visit to a Paris flea market.  While I had originally intended to make a pilgrimage to the famous (and giant) Clingancourt market,  the talented Kaari Meng from French General told me about the Porte Vanves flea as an alternative.  We briefly chatting at Quilt Market and I took her advice seriously, knowing that we both like small, sewing related treasures.  I was not disappointed!
I was able to find some buttons, a bit of trim and fabric and some original fabric design sketches.  Not too big, not too small - and friendly.  I'll be back.

My husband was a sport and trudged around with me, checking emails and eventually finding a bench to relax.  He got to fulfill his wish to visit some food markets.  While the fruits and veggies aren't fresh like they are in Florida, it was mushroom season.  Many of our meals included many popular French fungi.

Thanks to my friend, Jean, I was directed to La Droguerie.  Charming old wood shelves and floors filled with crafting goods.  Glass cabinets of samples and hanging displays provide inspiration to customers who wait in line for a staff member to help select their purchases.  Crafters can choose a sample and the sales associates will help them choose the items necessary and then provide instructions.

Beads and findings are kept in large jars that are brought to us to make our choices.  I came home with lots of pretty little things to satisfy the magpie in me.  I also grabbed a few fat quarters of fabric that I had never seen as well as some pretty binding by-the-yard. [ Leave your tired significant others that have no interest in crafts behind, as there is no place to sit.]

A wonderful surprise was stumbling upon a weekend exhibit/show of a French fiber and felt artists group at the Viaduc des Artes.  The collaborative display of this art medium was spectacular.  Dresses, coats, hats, creatures, jewelry and more - all from felt and fibers.

I hope you enjoyed some of the photos from the creative parts of my vacation.  I'll post some of the London photos, too.  Cheers!