Sew & Sew Retreats are purposeful getaways that are aimed at
rescuing you from your everyday routine and whisking you off to an
exceptional location to bask in the happiness you find in creating with textiles.
All levels of experience will enjoy the workshops, from beginners to advanced!
In Paris we'll have an embroidery workshop, Samplers of Seduction, with haute couture embroider Rebecca Devaney. This will be held at Au Ver à Soie, the world's leading silk thread manufacturer, which is an exclusive opportunity with Rebecca as they are closed to the public. Plus Rebecca owns Textile Tours of Paris and she will be our guide for the haberdasheries and flea markets!
We will be taking a Boutis workshop with Kumiko Nakayama Geraerts. The workshop will begin with a fascinating presentation on the history and savoir-faire of Boutis. Kumiko will show her breath-taking collection of vintage Boutis and printed cottons from Provence. The workshop continues with an introduction to the Boutis technique and a demonstration from Kumiko.
In the Kantha Embroidery with Ekta Kaul you'll learn the history of kantha, then you will learn to embroider illustrative and geometric motifs and patterns, along with learning their symbolism.
I'll be having an embroidery sachet workshop on French fabric and we will use dried French lavender buds.
"Your Textile retreat is fabulous, I'm delighted to share my passion for luxury textiles, fashion and embroidery that's woven into the fabric of Paris!"
Per Rebecca, "In this exclusive embroidery workshop, we will be hosted at the legendary Au Ver à Soie, filled with old world charm, their offices are usually open to industry professionals only. We will be welcomed by Nathalie Botherel, the fifth generation of this family run business and she will give us a glimpse behind the scenes to reveal the fascinating story of how Au Ver à Soie has manufactured the finest French silk threads for over 200 years. We will have the pleasure of embroidering with these exquisite silk threads in the workshop that follows!
Rebecca has created Samplers of Seduction, a luxury collection of limited edition embroidery kits inspired by vintage French designs. The first edition, A Brief Dictionary of Stitches, introduces the 17 basic embroidery stitches and contains only the highest quality and award-winning materials used in the Haute Couture embroidery ateliers of Paris; hand-crafted heirloom scissors, sharp needles, wooden embroidery hoops, Italian linen and of course, Au Ver à Soie silk threads! Rebecca is passionate about supporting craftspeople and has considered every last detail in this collection, in the ateliers of Paris, skilled artisans hand-crafted the gorgeous boxes, bound the pages of the beautiful stitch booklets and screen printed the vintage embroidery designs. These artisans combine centuries of savoir-faire and many of them have received the prestigious Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant award from the French Government for their continued contribution to French heritage and culture.
One of the many pleasures of embroidery is that it takes time. After we have enjoyed the introductory workshop at Au Ver à Soie, Rebecca is very kindly giving us life-time access to her online course A Brief Dictionary of Stitches, so that we may continue our embroidered adventure at our own leisure and have a fabulous reminder of our time in Au Ver à Soie.
Kumiko Nakayama Geraerts
This will be a wonderful afternoon at the former train station Gare Godillot. Now a home, Gare Godillot is one of the celebrated heritage buildings of Paris. Kumiko Nakayama Geraerts, a world renowned Boutis expert, will welcome guests into Gare Godillot, Kumiko’s stunning home, for a truly unique workshop experience!
Boutis is an intricate needlework technique that refers to wholecloth Provençal quilts done using a stuffing technique. Traditionally, Boutis was made in the South of France from the 17th century onwards. It means “stuffing” and describes how two layers of fabric are quilted together with stuffing sandwiched between sections of the design, creating a raised effect. Also from the same French region is Marseilles work or trapunto, often confused, they are all forms of stuffed quilting.
Boutis had almost disappeared until Kumiko revived it with passion, talent and patience. Originally a textile designer, Kumiko arrived in France from Japan over 30 years ago and began collecting antique Boutis and searching France to find a teacher who could share centuries of savoir-faire with her. Kumiko has written several books about Boutis and exhibits her exquisite work internationally. As a Boutis artist, she has been recognized by the French government for her excellence in this craft. She has collaborated with the most celebrated museums in France to design printed cottons.
The Boutis workshop will begin with a fascinating presentation on the history and savoir-faire of Boutis. Kumiko will show her breath-taking collection of vintage Boutis and printed cottons from Provence. The workshop continues with an introduction to the technique and a demonstration from Kumiko. Guests are provided with all the materials needed to create a beautiful, delicate pincushion, a gorgeous souvenir of their trip to Paris! There will also be a selection of her fabrics available for purchase.
Kumiko’s first language is Japanese, she also speaks French and English. Rebecca Devaney will provide any needed translation during the workshop.
"I’m excited to guide people in hand stitching on Kantha cloth while
you are in Paris!"
My art enables me to express myself and to tell stories of place, history and belonging. Stitch connects me to my heritage, especially to my mother and ancestors who embroidered.
Kantha are stitched and quilted textiles from the Indian subcontinent whose ethos are rooted in sustainability, storytelling and mindfulness. Discarded fabrics are layered, embroidered and repurposed into textiles for function or display using stitches. The lotus and other floral forms, tree of life, paisleys, scenes from daily life are significant motifs in illustrative kantha. Motifs often represent local flora, while others symbolize abundance, folk deities, mythological stories and the cosmos. Geometric patterns are often employed in kantha to form bands to decorate edges as well as to embellish the entire body of the kantha, forming a genre of kantha that is distinct from illustrative kantha.
You will learn to embroider illustrative motifs in the center of your kantha and simple geometric motifs for the border and learn their symbolism. We will discuss finishing options for the kantha too. Ekta will share inspiring images from international museum archives, and her recent field trip to India to discuss the historical context of kantha, symbolism and share her approach to kantha.
Ekta Kaul is an award winning artist known for her narrative maps that explore place, history and belonging through stitch and abstract painting. Her works are held in prominent public collections including the Museum of London, Crafts Council, the Gunnersbury Museum and those of private collectors. She is also a highly experienced educator and is regularly invited to teach at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and other institutions internationally. Ekta grew up in India imbibing the rich textile heritage of the country and trained at India’s pre-eminent design school NID, before moving to the UK for her Masters for which she received two British Council Scholarships in 2005.
Since graduating she has gone on to establish a practice which investigates contemporary creative expressions of place through fiber and painting. She has received awards from the Arts Council, Crafts Council and was the winner of 2021 Cockpit Arts Textile Prize. Ekta is currently writing her book on Kantha which comes out in summer 2024. She lives and works in London, UK.
"I LOVE FRANCE! About 30 years ago, I said someday I'd like to take a group to Europe for a textile retreat. Someday has come!
Even though I am the host of Celebrate French Textiles, I love to teach. I am happy to be teaching an embroidery workshop using French textiles!
In this quintessentially French sachet workshop, we will will embroider French fabrics to create a lovely, embroidered piece. We will finish our embroidered fabric into a sachet filled with lavender – from the fields of France
Sew & Sew Retreats brings together people with a similar interest and then offers the opportunity to spend memorable moments creating, learning, exploring, relaxing and laughing with like-minded people. I hope you will join us!
Registration is Open
Space is Limited.
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