Preserving the Craft

I realize it was only a few weeks ago that I referenced an article in T Magazine, but this week’s Travel Issue again hit a high note on several topics so relevant in these parts. While I encourage you to read the marvelous issue for yourself, I’d like to augment just a few bits with some thoughts about the art of craft.


One of the shorter pieces, Preservation Society, focusses on Chanel’s establishment of their under-publicized subsidiary, Paraffection, a division where they house a group of exceptional small handicraft ateliers. Including some of the most prestigious artisanal houses such as Lesage and Lemarié, the group has been brought together into a new modern complex in a Parisian suburb where they can continue to create and store their archives. While Chanel of course benefits financially by owning these firms whose work contributes so much to their couture products, they still get points in my book for saving the future of these firms whose artistry would otherwise be on the edge of extinction. For those of you who admired the stunning curtains in the dining room of Robert Couturier’s At Home in Connecticut video,


that incredible embroidery work was all executed by Lesage.


Or in the amazing home of Howard Slatkin, where the art of craft is evident everywhere, Lesage also played a major role, as in the master bedroom where walls are upholstered in a  custom fabric embroidered by the house.


Design is transformative and often a transporting experience. As Needleman says in her editor’s letter “Sometimes travel can simply be a state of mind; lovely interiors can transport a home.” And the art of craft can be an essential element in elevating such experiences.

craftleft to right, top to bottom: Frances Palmer, Alessandra Branca, Miguel Flores Vianna, Sydney Maag, William Abramowicz, Jeanne Henriques, Alex Papachristidis, Kelly Klein, Ted Kennedy Watson.

Another article in the issue speaks to the voyeuristic aspect of Instagram. And while it can indeed contribute to the “lifestyle envy” the piece references, there is another aspect of the app that I find even more enticing. And that is again, the element of craft. Perhaps that’s why it’s the favorite sharing outlet of almost every creative I know (some recent favorites by a few of those I follow above). Unlike Pinterest, which can be a useful curatorial tool, Instagram is a direct feed to the user’s creative output and eye. I love seeing how and what they see – what detail they capture, what subjects they find that may perhaps influence a project, product or piece down the road. And while it’s of course entertaining to see who’s been where and with whom and why, it’s still the “eye has to travel” aspect of it that keeps you coming back for more. There’s just there’s so much insight and inspiration in those little squares!


And lastly, this week’s installment of In the Air explores how “harnessing the majestic power of nature” has influenced artists and designers throughout the ages. While certainly not a novel notion, the trio of authors travel across mediums and eras to explore some of the more exotic concepts. It reminded me of several previous posts here, where the art of craft expressed through nature has remarkable results. Consider the amazing nature inspired jewelry of Victoire de Castellane at Dior. Whether inspired by Dior’s garden at Milly-La-Foret, above, or an imaginary island, below, each piece is meticulously hand-made in specific Parisian ateliers, where the production can take up to two years.


So as Needleman closes her letter, “No matter where the journey takes us, T tries to broaden how we see things and to make sense of the cultural moment we live in. If we manage to do that and to entertain you as you make your way through these pages, count us as happy editors.” Done and done!

9 thoughts on “Preserving the Craft

  1. It would be a terrible day if these hand arts were to become extinct, or, as the tiny embroidering mouse says in Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester “No more twist!!!” I was in BarneysNYC a few weeks ago and they have embarked on a small but well considered joint venture with Lesage. A precious few styles of pillow with magnificent LeSage embroidery are available for sale!!! Run, don’t walk!!!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing the T Mag piece. It feels so good to know that craft is still appreciated and finding its way into vogue versus mass produced product.

  3. Stacey I have grown to absolutely love beautifully handcrafted fabrics, the creativity of these artisans is astounding!

    The Arts by Karena

  4. Stacey…so kind of you to refer to my photograph in your collage! I am touched. I agree, IG is an interesting journey, taking you to the far corners of the world. Dare I say that I enjoy it more than Facebook? ;)

    Thank you again for sharing…much appreciated!


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