Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Paris Journal: "Tai Tai": textiles in the city, aka my new favorite place

The amazing thing about cities is that you can turn the corner and find a treasure of a store, one you never noticed before (or wasn't there the last time you walked this particular direction). Right there in your proverbial backyard!

I went to buy yarn this morning at my somewhat local yarn store (LYS) Chatmaille in the Marche St Pierre area. I wanted to buy an alpaca sock yarn, but they didn't have change for my 50 Euros, so I left and went looking for change. I can't call them my LYS since they've never really been very nice or welcoming and this morning's visit was no different.

I walked down rue Andre del Sarte and found Tai Tai Boutique. This store is a treasure trove of finds! Tai tai means little sister in Mandarin.

This is where you can toe socks to wear with flip flops! Forget the sock yarn....no knitting required.
A selection of handwoven hemp fabrics in natural and indigo.

Reversible, indigo dyed, cotton batik yardage 

Xiao Hua Albert showing off an exquisite iridescent Miao fabric
The selection of fabrics here is very impressive. The Miao are an ethnic minority in China. I have only seen the Miao iridescent fabric once or twice before and it was so prized that it was not for sale. The sheen comes from repeatedly beating the eggwhite-coated dyed fabric against a stone slab. The depth of such luster pounded into the fabric is really amazing.

All fabric is sold by the meter and very affordable!
Beautifully decorated boutique, all for purchase!

Clothing for fancy and casual wear.

Photographs from Canton, China, lining the walls.

Covet-worthy display of fabrics and embroidered Mary Janes
The Panda table!

Little books and other treasures for everyone on your gift list.

More socks and coin purses in great fabrics. 

They have supplies for Chinese calligraphy and painting

or you can buy the art itself!
Tai tai is really a gem of a store. I am so excited to have discovered it and bought some textile treasures.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Dovecot Tapestry Studio

I was so lucky to be in Scotland and visit the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. The tapestry studio is housed in a building that was once a Victorian swimming pool/public baths.

The airy entry has a nice selection of books, supplies and fiber-centric gifts.

Kon-Tiki Guys, tapestry woven by Freya Sewell (former apprentice)  and  WRRTBCHT, tufted rug by Dennis Reinmuller

The weaving studio entrance (closed to visitors).

Studio through the window.

Some tapestry education before the entry to the viewing balcony.

Imagine it ....the viewing balcony runs along the perimeter of the studio space which is where the pool once was. Truly spectacular. Every weaver wants a studio like this!

That's a ginormous frame for rug tufting...and the scaffolding for the one who is tufting!

In addition to the weaving studio and gallery, there is also a cute little cafe that I long to spend more time in.

A great rug in the cafe, described below.

It is such a lovely, wonderfully-renovated building, well worth the visit if you're in the neighborhood. If you can't make it there, the Dovecot website also has a catalog of their tapestries for sale that is very much worth a browse. Especially fun to see are the tapestries that were inspired by Dovecot's swimming pool past.