We enterered via a small forged iron gate, through a heavily perfumed, Iris lined pathway – a private antique textile brocante heaven in a Provencal 1800s townhouse – just for our French Muse experience guests.
Everyone has their own technique when they go to the brocante, mine just happens to be a somewhat less efficient method than more serious buyers. Of course I love the rummaging in dusty boxes for treasure but what I love most of all is the exchange of stories, knowledge and passion.
You can blame it on the Irish gift of the gab but I can easily spend eight hours, chatting, sharing, touching textiles and getting to know these women who have immersed themselves in creating with and collecting textiles for over fifty years.
And so at a recent flea market I chanced my arm and asked if I could come visit the home of one of my favourite sellers, and if I could bring some friends.
..and guess what? She said yes!! and she added “I will open all my armoires for you to see everything I have collected” (little jump for joy)
It was beyond what I could ever have imagined.
The perfect day. The sun was shining and as we rounded the corner of the little path, I forgot to breathe as I took in the tables my friend had laid out in her garden, boxes of textile treasures lay dappled in afternoon sunshine.
Imagine having an opportunity to browse antique textiles without any crowds, with an expert gently guiding you through each box, carefully explaining the techniques used in each piece, what it would have been created for, what a particular stitch was called – so much fun!
Every so often, my friend would disapear inside her house and emerge a few minutes with an antique boutis or tapestry from her vast collection.
Of time, energy, knowledge, spirit and passion.
A meeting of kindred spirits. Nourishing.
Beauty everywhere we looked.
Our hosts created the most simple & elegant lunch that was for me the essence of French cooking; fresh, seasonal, unfussy and delicious in every way. At one point I lifted my head from the boxes of textiles to catch everyone photographing the table – our hosts must have thought we were crazy.
..and just as I thought my senses couldn’t take anymore, our host brought us into her atelier.
Floor to ceiling shelves of an antique meuble de metier filled with the most incredible patterns. I couldn’t pick a favourite.
A day I will never forget!
Corey and I are already planning some wonderful activities for our September French Muse experience so if you would like to find out more please email us on ruthribeaucourt at gmail dot com