Rustic Eclectic Fantastic

Countdown: Five weeks till we leave for a year’s working sabbatical in a former Spanish colony in the tropics! We’re renting a very modern apartment for the first month of house-hunting, but where I really want to live is place like this, the show room of Atelier Aguila:

I’d fill it with furniture that’s all about massive old wood recycled into modern pieces, like those made by Laurent Passe.

There’d be folk art on the walls, like these vintage religious artifacts from Mexico.

You’d find rough-hewn touches everywhere you looked (again by Mr. Passe).

There’d be color! Maybe linen by John Robshaw.

Or a beaded animal head by Sherry Markowitz.














Oh the possibilities!


House hunting

I wrote a few customers that their orders will be arriving on 22 November instead of the real date, 22 September, causing them some distress (sorry!). That says a lot about where my head is right now. November is when the Big Move happens. Lots of stress preparing for everything, but the good, excited kind of stress!

This despite an early disappointment. Below is a photo of the house we wanted (still in construction, but about to be finished this month). You go down those steps and your feet are in water. No neighbors anywhere too near. The sun sets somewhere to your right. Bliss.

The owner was in a hurry to rent it though, and could not wait for our coming in November. There was another couple who wanted to move in right away. Sigh.  This is the beach in front of the lost house.

The plan now is to stay in a smaller house for a month (found, reserved, and checked off the to-do list), while looking around for something better. The best thing to do, we’ve been advised, as where we’re going is not the kind of place where people put up their homes to lease on the Internet. In fact, this is not the kind of place where the Internet is used very much…

Preparing for the house-hunting I am inspiring myself with photos stained by sun.

Kikoys in Kenya.

Ikat bowl.


Working on…

In the midst of preparing for the Big Move, I’ve been managing to  get work done, yes I have! I just finished a sale at Uncovet, and that was a positive experience. Then I discovered that I had run out of the goat skin that I had been using for the Bayong bag handles, and so shifted to this luscious dark lamb skin I’d been keeping forever.

I also made new bowls, all crumpled up. I’m calling them Subok, Filipino for “try,” as these are experiments. I’ve done just a very small batch. They’ll soon be at the shop.

Meanwhile, I’m already preparing for next year’s collection (yes, I’m an early bird). For inspiration, I’ve been doing experiments in natural dyeing; and have been devouring all the mind-blowing photos of shibori on the Internet. One of my favorite blogs is currently Shibori Girl. It’s her work below.

Moving forward

Hello there, excuse me I have been absent. I have valid excuses; things are shaking around here, in very major ways. Number one is that Nola and I figured out that we’re much better off as friends than as business partners, so 7100 Islands will be a single-girl gig from now on. Breaking up is always hard to do, but at least now both of us are moving forward with more clarity.

And speaking of moving, did I mention that my husband Pierre and I about a decade ago were living in the tropics? We have set up our home and have had our child here in France, but we have always wondered if maybe it wouldn’t be better for us somewhere else.

We have decided to take the big leap, before our daughter is required to attend school. We’re taking the plane in November, to leave for a few months or maybe a year, for what we call a working sabbatical. 7100 Islands’ packages will soon be mailed to you from exotic iles.

I am really thankful that we both have that spirit that pushes us to explore what else there can be for us out there. Life is good.

A few pictures of around where we’ll be:


Ah, summer! I should be taking a long vacation, preferably in Africa, but there’s just too much work around here. The good news is that if all goes well, by year’s end 7100 Islands will be distributed by an online shop that I have been following and admiring for a long time. I won’t say any more for fear of jinxing anything, but I’ll share the news here just as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, photographs of where I’d rather be:

Wooden wagons

little girl

blue sky

wooden boat

little boys running

7100 news: We’re in the news!

Oh yes! Being the excitable creatures that we are, we’re tickled to find ourselves in magazine pages these days.

The first feature to appear was in Smile, which according to CNN is one of the world’s top 12 best airline magazines. They stuck a needle through Apol’s head (see if you can spot it), but she thinks this is just a minor price to pay for fame and glory. (That was a joke!)

Then there was the writeup in Metro Home & Entertaining, a posh decorating magazine published in the Philippines. We feel honored.

To Tara and Maya, and to Anna and Tina, our heartfelt gratitude. Starting a new project is never easy, but you girls have given us a great boost. Merci, thank you, salamat, and grazie!

7100 news: Getting it out there

(Version française en bas.) Two months after launching our brand quietly, we’re hard at work trying to get our products out there. Most of you know about our online shop, where today we’re putting up for sale our crumpled bags inspired by brown shopping bags. We’re also working on food containers for a really nice restaurant, and getting a set of products ready for Scènes d’Intérieur, a shop in Montpellier.

We’re looking for more boutiques we can work with, and that means a lot of footwork. Last Friday, for example, we were walking around in the 33° heat, carrying our rolls of ikat and a suitcase of products. Notice, that Apol did that in heeled wedges.

There was something about this bracelet that Apol had made for herself just the day before, and had no intention of selling. Two shopkeepers said they could see it in their boutiques.

The heat, the footwork, and most of all explaining the brand in a language not our own – not easy, but hey we’re having fun!

FR: Deux mois après le lancement de notre marque, au boulot! La plupart d’entre vous connaissez déjà notre boutique en ligne, où nous mettons en vente aujourd’hui nos sacs inspirés par ces sacs en papier kraft qu’on voit un peu partout. Nous travaillons également sur une commande pour un restaurant, et préparons un ensemble de produits destinés à Scènes d’Intérieur, une boutique à Montpellier.

Nous recherchons toujours d’autres boutiques avec qui travailler, et pour cela il faut marcher! Vendredi dernier, c’était au moins une dizaine de kilomètres, et sous une chaleur de 33 °.  Apol, femme courageuse, l’a fait portant des talons.

Ce bracelet que Apol s’était faite juste la veille, et n’avait pas l’intention de vendre, a connu un petit succès. Deux commerçants le veulent dans leurs boutiques.

La chaleur, les kilomètres, et surtout devoir expliquer notre marque dans une langue qui n’est pas la notre, ce n’est pas très facile, mais  comment on s’amuse bien!