Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Giving: Lisa's Style

A refreshing presence in the blogospehre, Lisa Borgnes Giramonti has enchanted many of us with her calming prose and candid pictures of her soulful L.A. home. Apart from being a talented writer, she is a self-taught embroidery artist with an edge. Above all, though, she's an adventurous spirit.

Not too long ago I asked Lisa if she gives her friends and family handmade gifts. Here's what she had to say:

"Over the years, I've come full circle when it comes to making handmade presents for friends. When I was just starting out in advertising in NYC and had a limited budget for gifts, I usually made things for friends and family: everything from knitted ski hats and sweaters to needlepoint pillows. Sure, it took a lot of time, but every stitch was a record of a moment well spent. When life got busier and my job became crazier and the Age of Excess landed fully upon us (roughly the time period of Sex and the City), I lost myself a little bit to consumerism...didn't we all? It wasn't about making things anymore, it was about buying (aka 'the thrill of the hunt.') One holiday, I ordered Dean and Deluca gift baskets for everyone; another year, it was monogrammed Land's End bags and personalized jewelry. It was time-efficient, it was hassle-free but looking back, it was slightly soulless."

She adds that now, with the New Recession, her thoughts are turning back to handmade presents for a myriad of reasons:

1. They come from the heart.

2. There is a simplicity and honesty to a homemade gift that can't be achieved through a purchase.

3. She misses the sense of connection and personal fulfillment that comes from making something with her hands.

4. Even though they are not necessarily easier on the wallet (a homemade sweater costs much more than one you find on sale at Loehman's), the bang you get from your buck lasts much longer.

Lisa continues, "That being said, my embroidery pieces take anywhere from one to four months to make and so, obviously, I am limited in the time I have to make them for people. But knitting something doesn't take very long. A knitted messenger bag takes only a day or two to make, and a hat can be whipped up in a night. I also have a seven year old son who can't remember ever seeing me with a pair of knitting needles in my hands (I stopped when he was a baby) and I'd like to remedy that, too."

All images of thread are via Selvedge. To learn more about Lisa's piece above, Apartment in NYC, 2005, embroidery floss on linen, click here.

Lisa is a huge fan of London's V & A so I don't think she will mind if I tack on this fun video with Sir Paul Smith in the museum. Click here to watch. (Or here if you have trouble with the first link.) Don't miss the Cecil Beaton chair.

Update: 4.29.09
Looks like Sir Smith is on 1stdibs today.


ArchitectDesign™ said...

I LOVE paul smith clothes -and especially that shirt you have in particular! I want it! lol

Mrs. Blandings said...

Completely smitten by Lisa and her embroidery. And her home. And the tales of her son. Almost makes me want to take up knitting. But I hate to count.

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Wish I could knit....tried a long time ago. I like her gift-giving thoughts that are so timely.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Courtney, thank you so much for this! I am deeply honored. With

Style Court said...

Thanks for answering my questions Lisa!

Paul Pincus said...

i can't get over lisa's embroidery work! the piece you've featured is extraordinary!


Janet said...

Lisa's stitching is extraordinary! I am also impressed by the orginality of it. It is so hard to find time to make hand-made gifts for everyone, but when I do, I find it is the most satisfying feeling.

Laura said...

She's such a rarity...glamorous but intelligent, soulful and quite the crafter! I couldn't agree more about the handmade gifts. I think all of my gifts this past Christmas were homemade and it really was one of the best holidays I've had in quite some time.