Does your pulse quicken at the sight of handsome hardware arranged en masse, endless rows of paintbrushes, or miles of ribbon on spools? Mine does. I'm intrigued by pretty much anything related to fait main -- the Parisian appreciation for pieces created or restored by hand. So it was easy for me to become engrossed in a series of petite guidebooks published by The Little Bookroom.
Australian stylist and photographer, Pia Jane Bijkerk, is the author of Paris Made by Hand. It's a tiny book, intended to slide easily into your purse, but her beautiful photographs have great impact. Bijkerk sees Paris as one of the last remaining international cities that truly celebrates artisans and one-of-a-kind items: "A designer's muse, a decorator's heaven, and a treasure trove for a stylist." She shares with readers where she heads if she needs a vintage umbrella repaired and where she finds everything from handmade wallpaper to buttons and exquisite ribbon (by the way, mercerie is French for a boutique selling sewing and craft supplies).
This paperback edition has a private address book feel, covering over 50 shops including papermakers, dressmakers, ceramicists, handbag makers and jewelry designers. Currently offered for less than $14 on the The Little Bookroom site, it would be a great graduation present. (Any armchair traveler would love it too.)
Other terrific guides from the publisher deal with vintage shopping and flea markets. I plan to talk about those next. Images above © Pia Jane Bijkerk.