As you may know from my social media, I’ve always loved making crafts and working with my hands! From decorating to gift-wrapping and arranging flowers, I love being creative.
On my recent trip to Paris a friend recommended that we take an embroidery and beading class and I immediately responded with ‘sign me up!’ On a beautiful Paris day we headed down Rue de la Paix, past the Opera, and soon arrived at the world-famous Maison Lesage.
The historic building has been the home of artisans used by the most famous Parisian designers to craft beading, lace and flowers for their designs beginning in 1893! Since the artists at Maison Lesage work for so many designers – Christian Dior, Givenchy, YSL and of course Chanel – they are very careful to protect their work so that competing designers cannot see what others are doing for the next fashion season! Back in the day, Coco Chanel was so afraid that her designs would be stolen, she refused to use Lesage. (In fact, Chanel bought the Lesage in 2002). The Lesage family continues to oversee the business and their archives now contain over 70,000 samples of embroidery art!
I was in awe as I watched the detailed techniques each artist was using to apply beads and sequins to fabric. In addition to training beginners like me, the team at the Ecole Lesage train artisans who travel from around the world to spend weeks developing their craft in order to work with top fashion designers.
We took a two-hour introductory class where we were taught the beginning stitches and how to decorate what is called a ‘square.’ I embarked on my creation of a ‘Camellia flower pin’ using small pieces of a delicate fabric for the petals and adorned it with beautiful tiny beads and crystals. The finishing touch was adding wispy feathers for a tail.
One of the instructors showed me how sew beading on a piece of fabric that was attached to a loom. I learned how to push the thread from underneath the fabric and attach the beading at the top. It was intricate work and needed my full concentration!
It was a wonderful and rewarding time at Maison Lesage. I enjoyed it so much and am grateful for the opportunity to learn something new. Whether you want to take a pottery class or learn how to ride a horse, I highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone and try something new! Nate Berkus says, “You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things.” I say amen to that!