A shout out from my nest

For the past couple of months I have been under the weather (baby on the way, making waves)  this temporary but debilitating  state has led me to find ways that I can work while resting. I now refer to my bed as ” my nest”. This space holds most of what I need: phone, pen, paper, laptop, books, and snacks.

It was here in my nest that I recently completed the text for an upcoming publication due later this year to accompany a series of shoes. I honestly cannot wait to see this fully realised ~ so exciting.

I have also been using this time to be inspired, mostly visiting blogs and sites which lead to other sites, and new names, designers, artists and things. The internet is indeed a vast space, and since I need to be a part of my practice in order to feel like I am ‘me’, this time for discovery has been enjoyable considering the circumstances.


 The Art of Ikebana

I am not one of those people that swoon over a bunch of flowers in a vase. I like flowers outside, where they grow and reach sunlight. However I do have a reoccurring fascination with the Japanese art of Ikebana. Nowness is a great site with excellent contributors, this little film which shows the progression of a piece is lovely. Watch it here

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Still from the short film: The Art of Ikebana is Showcased at Tokyo’s Sogetsu School to Launch Modern Design Review


Mitch Alfus is a “Leather King”

In a café in Berlin late last year I came across a great book The Selby is in Your Placeby Todd Selby. Selby is a photographer of personal spaces, and the view point he takes is so interesting. Every detail he chooses to magnify is so telling of who these people are. I also loved the even playing field between very famous individuals and close friends of his.

Just the other week I remembered this book and searched for Selby online, to my delight he has expanded his photography practice to film. This is where I found this video of Mitch Alfus AKA “Leather King”. He captured all sides of this man who was responsible for the importation of fine leathers to the USA.   Watch this video here


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Still from the Selby film: Mitch Alfus AKA “Leather King”


DIY Design: Mathery

Melbourne based duo Erika Zorzi and Matteo Sangalli are the founders of design studio: ‘Mathery‘ . I have fallen in love with a project they completed back in 2010…which I have only come across very recently. Mathery created an object a day for 100 days. Each object had the objective of   satisfying a need. looking through these objects delighted me! I highly recommend checking it out here

CMYK base





I forgot all about Rookie

Tavi Gevinson, is the creator of her current blog Rookie. I actually hadn’t checked in with her for years it seems, when her blog was predominately fashion focused: Style Rookie. Tavi began this blog when she was only 11. I thought she was the cutest, most stylish, young lady who knew what she liked and could voice her opinions in her own way. Her honesty moves me and I think I could listen to her speak for hours on end. I have so much respect for her, and have made the vow to visit her blog on a regular basis again!

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shoes belonging to Tavi Gevinson

Watch an interview for Stylelikeu here

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Tavi Gevinson, stil frame from the interview for Stylelikeu


Discovered on FFFFound

This site was introduced to be years ago when I was in Montréal, I haven’t visited it in a long time probably since it is addictive. This site is an enjoyable feast for the eyes. I enjoy the escapism and opportunity for discovery it presents. visit FFFFound here

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Photograph discovered on FFFFound: Invisible by Laura Williams 2013


Streaming Tunes from France

Late last year it seemed that during my visit to paris, if I was in a home they were streaming this radio station. I like listening to this station, it offers me the kind of surprise my iTunes shuffle can not. Steam le player here 

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until next time



Interview: Thomasine Gloves

When I saw Thomasine gloves for the first time…

I felt so delighted, so surprised, & thrilled that leather gloves were being created right now in my lifetime that are so spectacular. Wearing gloves serve the function of protection against us from the cold ~ Thomasine gloves may just transform our hands into kinetic works of art.

Thomasine is a Swedish designer now living and working in Paris, France. She has collaborated with Walter van Beirendonck for multiple menswear collections; Tillmann Lauterbach; Gauchère; & photographer Adriane d’Ollone with art director Sofie Nielander. She has also taken part in  the prestigious ITS#SIX, International Talent Support in Trieste, Italy.

Thank you to the talented Thomasine Barnekow of Thomasine gloves for taking part in this interview.

Take a deep breath & witness some of the best gloves our universe has to offer:


Thomasine Gloves for Walter van Beirendonck SS2012

1. Can you tell me a bit about how and when you became interested in gloves?

Gloves came into my thoughts during design school, where I started to view them as soft wearable jewellery. I found an interest in an accessory that has a great traditional heritage and to try to find a modern way to look at them.

The first glove idea was inspired by shoes. The second – by jewellery hiding in under the skin: the collection called ‘peau précieuse’. This is still my brand identity, but often the jewellery part is more conceptual than direct today.


Thomasine Gloves: ‘Peau Precieuse’ Image By Barrie Hullegie


Thomasine Gloves Image by Coco Amardeil


Thomasine Gloves for Walter van Beirendonck AW2012

2. What is your process for developing a new glove design?

It is the search for making an idea that is yet not designed. I either have a fascination of a graphical image, a craft technique or a fashionable silhouette that I try to make 3D. I use paper and materials in my hands that I try to cut and fold into a new interesting shape as the base for the design. So I am very tactile and sculptural before I really start with the drawings.

TOKYO glove Marine

Thomasine Gloves: ‘TOKYO’ (Marine)

3. Your colour combinations are unexpected – so excellent. How do you arrive at these colour palettes?

The colours are a matter of taste. I don’t really follow trends, because I believe every story told can be the right ‘trend’ it is just up to oneself to tell it in a strong way. I see it like creating a painting.

But I do like shades of colours rather than prime ones.

MILAN mitaine Taupe

Thomasine Gloves ‘MILAN’ (Mitaine Taupe)

4. You have collaborated with some acclaimed designers and stylists on photo shoots, What is your process for a successful collaboration?

Personal chemistry – good energies are meant to come together and create successful work.Personally I try to listen and understand the core of the imagined product and then I translate it with my hand writing and perfection.


Thomasine Gloves for Walter van Beirendonck SS2014

dove glove

Thomasine Gloves ‘dove glove’ 


Thomasine Gloves Walter van Beirendonck SS2012

5. To me your gloves seem fresh & innovative. At the same time I can see that you value tradition in your craft & successfully relate this to your design. How do you combine the new with the old so well?

Gloves is a handcraft – by understanding the product and the heritage one can also start to change the shape to modernize it. By understanding the quality of leather one can create wonders that is not possible with textiles.

PARIS glove Fushia

Thomasine Gloves ‘PARIS’ glove (Fushia)

But the main point for me – I believe is that I am a product designer with speciality in jewellery and in textiles – gloves became the ultimate combination of the two directions.Gloves have become a bit of a forgotten accessory – by creating a new identity for the use of product one can play on nostalgia and elegance to create a modern product.

6. Hands are so personal and very integral on a functional level to our everyday lives as human beings. What do you think happens when we wear gloves?

NEW YORK gloveByAdrianeGrzadziel

Thomasine Gloves ‘NEW YORK’ glove Image By Adriane Grzadziel

If you are in love with your pair of gloves,  you will wear them all the time,  you will talk with them, you will stand up in the bus / metro to hold your hand up high. When you feel comfortable and beautiful – you will carry them with a pride. THOMASINE gloves are made to make you feel special.

7. What are you looking forward to in 2014 & beyond at Thomasine Gloves?

To make my brand reach further and make more people fall in love. 😉
To create a range that is both more simple but still make you feel less ordinary.
That women and men compliment their wardrobes with a special glove compartment.

HELSINKI glove Red

Thomasine Gloves ‘HELSINKI’ glove (Red)


Thomasine Gloves Coquillage De Main Galuchat


Thomasine Gloves Coquillage De Main Galuchat

If you would like to see and read more about Thomasine Gloves click HERE

Until Next Time

Interview: French Leather Gilder – Lucie Monin

When I think of gilded leather I imagine gorgeous antique books. Hand Bound, with gold detailing, from a time long since passed.

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detail: “La Vie des Insectes” dated from 1900 written by J.-H. Fabre
made in the Wiener Werkstatte workshop

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“La Vie des Insectes” dated from 1900 written by J.-H. Fabre
made in the Wiener Werkstatte workshop

As with many other hand crafted techniques gilded leather is usually performed in the present day by machines.  Often referred to as “Hot Stamping Machines” or a “Gold foil Press”. These machines are commonly used to stamp a logo or brand inside footwear or make prints for leather goods.

I can attest to the difference between machine made gold transfers and gilding which has been created by hand. The pressure and quality of the lines is in a different league. Hand Gilded leather is very luxurious, even the glow of the gold is superior.

The individual featured in this interview is a very talented contemporary leather crafts person; Lucie Monin lives and works as a professional gilder in Paris, France. Lucie has opened my eyes to the possibilities, relevance and beauty of gilded leather in the preset day .

I met Lucie back in September when I attended the 2013 “Le Cuir à Paris : – Fur and leather Event. Twice a year this event showcases talented craftspeople under the title of “Bespoke” and provides participants with stands to display unique works that celebrate leather.

Gants Maison Fabre

Gants Maison Fabre, Lucie Monin

As I approached the bespoke stands I was immediately drawn to the shimmering gold that was aglow around Lucie.The closer I got to her works the more fascinated I became with the intricate gold details.

6. 1ERECLASSE_janv13_ Lucie Monin pour Thierry Lasry.

Lucie Monin pour (for) Thierry Lasry


Taneka Carel, Lucie Monin

Please read the interview below: the questions and answers are in French as well as English:

1. Nous nous sommes rencontré au salon le cuir à paris, pouvez-vous me raconté votre expérience à cet évènement?

Le salon Le Cuir à Paris fut l’occasion pour moi de rencontrer un certain nombre de personnes intéressantes issues du milieu de la mode, du design ou de l’architecture intérieure. Ce qui a le plus intéressé les visiteurs sur mon stand : le service de personnalisation en direct que je propose pour des évènements ( inauguration de boutique, lancement de collection série limitée, soirée presse, soirée pour les fêtes de Noël…)

1. I met you at Le Cuir à Paris, how would you describe the experience of participating in this event?

The show “Le Cuir à Paris” was the opportunity for me to meet a number of interesting people from the fashion industry, from design and interior design. What interested visitors to my stand the most: the service of live customization which I propose for events (inauguration of shop, launch of a limited edition serial collection, an evening press, and an evening for Christmas)


Lucie Monin at work

2. Parlez-moi de la dorure?

Voici exactement ce en quoi mon travail de doreuse consiste : Il y a d’abord la partie création, où je dessine, puis je customise ces même dessins en or sur des pièces qui deviennent uniques (même un particulier peut venir me voir). Je propose également comme je viens de l’expliquer, des personnalisations (initiales ou messages) sur différents types d’accessoires en cuir, dans le cadre évènementiel. Par exemple pour Tommy Hilfiger au sein du concept store Colette, à Madrid ou à Dusseldorf, ou encore pour Red Carpet au festival de Cannes. Je serai présente chez Merci pour la Maison Fabre au mois de décembre.

2. What is gilding?

Here is exactly what the work of gilder consists of: Firstly there is the part of creation, where I draw, then I customize the same drawings with gold on an accessory  which become unique. (even a private individual can come to see me). I also offer as I have just explained it, live personalizations (initials or messages) on various leather accessories, for events. Some example are: for Tommy Hilfiger within the concept store Colette, in Madrid or in Düsseldorf. Also for Red Carpet in the Cannes film festival. I shall be present at MERCI for the luxury french company Maison Fabre in December 2013.


Dr. Martens Boutique Paris, Lucie Monin

7. 1ERECLASSE_janv13. Lucie Monin pour Dr Martens

Lucie Monin pour (for) Dr Martens

3. Quel a été votre parcours, et comment en êtes vous arriver à être une doreuse sur cuir?

Je suis restée 3 ans au sein des Centre des Arts du Livre (anciennement les Arts Déco) à Paris , souhaitant me spécialiser dans la restauration de livres anciens. Puis j’ai effectuée quelques années à l’école bleue, architecture intérieure et design. Finalement, j’ai rapidement voulu créer un concept : revisiter le savoir-faire de dorure sur livre à travers l’univers de la mode, en le remettant au goût du jour. C’est formidable de pouvoir personnaliser à sa guise n’importe quel accessoire et lui donner une vie plus singulière, en rapport avec soi !

3. What is your background and how did you arrive here, being a leather guilder?

I stayed 3 years within “Le Centre des Arts du Livre”(formerly Arts deco) in Paris, wishing to specialize in the restoration of old books. Then I spent a few years at “L’Ecole Bleue”: design school. Finally, I quickly wanted to create a concept: revisit the know-how of gilt on book through the world of fashion, reference the past but with current tastes. It is great to be able to personalize as one pleases any accessory and give to an accessory a unique life, in touch with the individual owner!

14.Chaussure homme Walter Steiger habillée d'or. Photo Laurent Depaepe

Chaussure homme (mens shoe) Walter Steiger habillée d’or, Lucie Monin Photo Laurent Depaepe

13. Commande pour Blake & Goodyear,  Modèle signé Pierre Corthay. Photo Laurent Depaepe

Commande pour Blake & Goodyear, Modèle signé Pierre Corthay, Lucie Monin Photo Laurent Depaepe,

4. Quel est l’histoire de la dorure? comment cet art as t-il évolué pour devenir ce qu’il est aujourd’hui?

Avec les Guerres d’Italie, la première dorure sur livre est arrivée en France en 1494 « la Couronne de Charles VIII ». Elle ennoblie les manuscrits royaux durant la Monarchie, reste présente au XIXème, malgré la Révolution Industrielle, et est réadaptée de manière plus contemporaine début XXème avec l’arrivée du Cubisme, et du Surréalisme. On l’a un peu délaissé au profit de la dorure industrielle par la suite.

4. What is the history of gilding? How has this craft evolved over the years to where we are now?

With the Wars of Italy, the first gilt on book arrived in France in 1494 ” La couronne de Charles VIII “. The gild ennobled the royal manuscripts during the Monarchy, remains present in the XIXth, in spite of the Industrial revolution, and is readjusted in a more contemporary way with the XXth, beginning with the arrival of the Cubism, and the Surrealism. Afterward, it is more abandoned for the benefit of industrial gold transfer machinery.


Lucie Monin at work

5. Avez-vous un mentor ou avez-vous étudiez cet art? avez-vous des livres ou des sites web a recommender?

Michel Richard, un ponte dans le milieu de la dorure, mais peu connu des média. Exigeant, il m’a apprit les bonnes bases. Il faut être patient, rigoureux, et méticuleux.

5. Have you had any mentors or education to learn how to guild? Any reference books or websites you would recommend?

Michel Richard, a heavyweight in the universe of the gilt – but little known of in the media. He has me taught the good base: It is necessary to be patient, rigorous, and meticulous.

19. exploration sous-marine

Exploration sous-marine, Lucie Monin

6. J’aime beaucoup votre style, il me semble très fluide, d’un design tellement détaillés, et parfois aussi minimal. Faites-vous des plans ou des croquis, ou laissez-vous votre imagination vous guider au fur et à mesure que le travail avance?

Il y a effectivement un travail de graphisme en amont. Une fois que le client valide, je le redessine sur calque, puis, à chaud en transparence je reproduis ce même dessin sur le cuir. Une fois cela réalisé, je peux ajouter l’or exactement dans ces mêmes traces. Merci April pour le compliment, mon style est en effet fluide, aérien, mais aussi organique et mouvant. Je m’inspire beaucoup de l’art nouveau Loie Fuller, ou encore des compositions que nous offre la nature, les fond marins.

6. I love your style, to me it is very fluid with gentle sweeping lines with a lot of intricate design, and then it can be very minimal too. Do you plan or sketch your ideas or do you work directly on leather allowing the imagery to unfold?

When the customer has a design, I redraw it on copy, then, under heat in transparency I reproduce the same drawing on the leather. Once it is realized, I can then add the gold exactly in the same tracks. Thank you April for the compliment, my style is indeed fluid, like air, but also organic and unstable. I am inspired by many of the art nouveau Loie Fuller, and always the compositions which are offered to us from nature, especially the sea bed.

2. Robe monogrammée Précieuse. Design et motifs Valéry Damnon; dorure Lucie Monin

Robe monogrammée Précieuse. Design et motifs Valéry Damnon; dorure Lucie Monin

7. Comment faites-vous la balance entre vos idées et votre style tout en respectant les exigences du client?

Les clients qui me font appel aiment justement mon style de dessin, donc je peux jouir d’un liberté de création, c’est formidable ! Lorsqu’un projet est précis, je m’adapte, mais toujours avec cette « pâte ».

7. How do you strike a balance between staying true to your own aesthetic and pleasing your client for customizations?

The customers who call on to me like my style of drawing, thus I can enjoy the freedom of creation, it is great! When a project is specific, I adapt myself, but always with my own “touch”.

1. Bottine Walter Steiger habillée d'or

Bottine Walter Steiger habillée d’or, Lucie Monin

8. Nous avions prévu nous rencontrer à votre studio a Paris, malheureusement, vos enfants n’étaient pas bien. Étant moi-même jeune maman, je cherche toujours a améliorer l’équilibre entre m’occuper de mon enfant et avoir le temps pour travailler a mes projets,- comment y parvenez-vous? Et comment vos enfants vous inspire t-ils dans votre travail?

J’ai des jumeaux de 16 mois, et oui la plupart du temps c’est sportif et pas évident à gérer avec le travail. Vous devez savoir de quoi je parle ! mais se sentir maman est tout de même extraordinaire. Cela peut paraître étrange mais ces deux fripons m’influencent aussi pour mon art !!

8. We planned to meet at your studio in Paris but unfortunately your little ones were unwell. As a mother myself I am always wondering how I can improve the balance between being a mama and working for myself – how do you manage this? How do your children inspire your practice?

I have twins (16-month-old), and yes most of the time it is sports and not easy to manage with my work. You must know what I am speaking of! But to experience motherhood is all the same very extraordinary. It may seem odd but these two rascals also influence my art practice!!

Merci Lucie Monin, it was a pleasure meeting you, I look forward to seeing your future projects. To find out more visit this website: www.luciemonin.com

Until next time -April

J’aime le Cuir A Paris – Leather & Fur Event 2013


Entrance to le cuir a paris

Since January it has been my plan to attend the 2013 Le Cuir A Paris Autumn/Winter leather and fur event.

Held twice a year this is the place where leather suppliers, tanneries, and sellers of all things related to leather convene for a three day event.

With over 400 exhibitors and 14,000 visitors there is a lot to see amongst a large crowd.


Stalls of cuir a paris


colourful cow hides inside cuir a paris


moving image booth at le cuir a paris

For me I have mostly purchaced leather through Australian suppliers, who are of course buying the leather in bulk from tanneries with their own profit included in the price. Purchacing directly has the advantage of eliminating the middle man for a better price for materials. There is another advantage for me to meet the tanneries – I was pleased to speak to the suppliers to answer my questions:

How is the leather tanned?

How is the process you are using to tan the leather minimising the impact to the environment?

What is the story of your tannery?

How does your tannery dispose of chemicals?

I am happy to report many of the stall holders welcomed these questions and I learnt a lot about current technologies and the progression of vegetable tanning to meet modern needs of leather. It is also worth considering that while chrome tanned leather is not as environmentally sound most countries have very strict regulations for the disposal and use of chemicals.


beautiful coloured cow skins produced using vegetable tanning and very environmentally friendly dyes



It was my expectation to be impressed by leather textures at cuir a paris… and impressed I was!


sheep skin blocked onto wool


cow split blocked from a mould made from crumpled paper


fur quilted in plastic

fur quilted in plastic


sheep skin embossed with large bubble shape


sliced cow hides in vibrant metallic gold and shimmering matt finishes, the under colours added a beautiful dimension

Prints / Pattern / Colour 


pin hole perforated leather made to order in france!


a reoccuring colour of brick browns


these are all synhthetic leathers, some are made to look like leather but I prefer the interesting techniques used which dont resemble leather at all


a stunning example of how vegetable tanned leather with natural dyes can compete for the attention of the discerning fashion buyer


printed scene on entire leather cowhide


organsation of samples / catalogues and all things collected at le cuir a paris


This event was so huge I needed two full days to get around it!

There will be a future post on this blog to cover interviews taken with participants of Bespoke showcase.

Until Next time,