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!

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:

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: We’ve been making little bowls

(Version française en bas.) After a couple of months in business, we realize that one of the challenges we face is making people understand what it is we actually make. T’nalak and hinabol, while both beautiful fabrics, are known to very few outside those of the Philippines islands. What we do with them also adds to the comprehension difficulty factor, as sculpting fabric is a relatively new technique. We thought that one solution is developing familiar shapes; another is suggesting uses for the objects we create. These are why we recently created Gusto and Nais, two shapes of small bowls, and suggest  you use them as pot holders. Of course, they’d also be great as pencil holders and all-around catch-all. They’re in the shop.

FR: L’un des défis auxquels nous sommes confrontés est faire comprendre ce que nous faisons exactement. T’nalak et hinabol sont des beaux tissus, mais peu connus en dehors des îles Philippines. Ajoutez à cela le fait que le sculpture de tissu est une technique relativement nouvelle. Nous pensons qu’une solution est le développement des formes familières. Une autre solution est de proposer des utilisations pour les objets que nous créons. Voila donc Gusto et Nais, deux formes de petits bols, à utiliser comme cache-pots. Si cela vous tente, allez-y les utiliser comme porte-crayons et vide-poche. Ils sont dans la boutique.

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!