samedi 9 juillet 2016

Bourbon for Breakfast

Il y a peu, je me suis mise à découvrir la gamme de produits Noble de chez Mikuni Wild Harvest. Les vinaigres sont un pur bonheur - déglacez des fruits de mer au #4 et vous verrez ! Et au rayon sirop d'érable, que de délicieuses surprises. Mon préféré reste le #1 - un sirop d'érable québécois ambré moyen vieilli avec un soupçon de bourbon brut en fûts de chêne américain carbonisé en provenance de la distillerie de Tuthilltown dans la vallée de l'Hudson, la plus vieille micro-distillerie de whiskey new-yorkaise depuis la Prohibition qui s'efforce d'utiliser des variétés de maïs, de pommes et de céréales locales et anciennes dans l'élaboration de leurs alcools. Un goût de bourbon très présent sur fond d'érable et de chêne et les gaufres délicates de Laurent Jeannin (chef pâtissier au Bristol) comme support. La recette de gaufres est tiré du très beau livre, Pâtisseries au fil du jour.

A little while ago, I started discovering and indulging in Mikuni Wild Harvest's Noble line of products. The finishing vinegars are bottled moments of happiness - try deglazing shellfish with tonic #4 and you'll see! Their maple syrups were a delicious surprise. My favourite is tonic #1 - a medium grade amber maple syrup from Quebec's orchards aged with a hint of bourbon in charred American oak barrels from the Hudson valley's Tuthilltown distillery, New York's oldest small batch whiskey distillery since Prohibition that uses only local and heirloom corn, apples and grains. A real bourbon kick floating on notes of maple and oak served on Laurent Jeannin's (the Parisian Bristol Hotel's head pastry chef) delicate waffles. The recipe is from his beautiful book, "Pâtisseries au fil du jour".

  • 5 œufs
  • 250 g de lait
  • 100 g de crème épaisse
  • 80 g de beurre
  • 250 g de farine (type 55)
  • 50 g de sucre semoule
  • 30 g de levure chimique
  • 2 g de vanille en poudre
  • 5 g de sel
  • huile pour le gaufrier

Casser les œufs en séparant les blancs des jaunes. Monter les blancs en neige avec le sucre semoule. Faire fondre le beurre.

Dans un bol, mélanger au fouet la farine tamisée, le sel et la levure. Ajouter les jaunes d’œufs, la crème, la moitié du lait, la vanille et le beurre fondu. Fouetter de sorte à ne plus avoir de grumeaux. Incorporer les reste du lait.

Incorporer les blancs d’œufs délicatement au mélange lait-farine à l'aide d'une maryse.  

Chauffer le gaufrier, l'huiler et verser une louchée de pâte. 

Faire cuire la gaufre 2 à 3 minutes. 

Continuer jusqu'à l'épuisement de la pâte.

  • 5 eggs
  • 250 g of milk
  • 100 g of heavy cream
  • 80 g of butter
  • 250 g of all purpose flour
  • 50 g of granulated sugar
  • 30 g of baking powder
  • 2 g of powdered vanilla beans
  • 5 g of salt
  • oil for the waffle iron

Separate the egg whites and yolks. Whip the egg whites with the sugar 
until stiff peaks form. Melt the butter.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, the salt and the baking powder. Add 
the egg yolks, the cream, half of the milk, the vanilla and the melted 
butter. Whisk together until there are no lumps left. 

Whisk in the remaining milk.

With a spatula, fold the egg whites delicately into the flour and milk 

Heat the waffle iron, oil it and pour in a ladle of waffle dough at 
a time.

Cook waffles for 2 to 3 minutes each.

lundi 4 juillet 2016

Damn right, I've got the blues!

Jersey de coton bio américain teint en deux nuances distinctes de bleu pastel par les maîtres teinturières du Bleu de Lectoure dans le Gers et broderies à l'appliqué inversé qui signalent le lent début d'une autre robe. Un mariage heureux (on l'espère !) entre traditions venues des deux côtés de l'Atlantique.

Woad dyed organic cotton jersey grown in the USA and dyed in two different shades of blue by the master dyewomen at Bleu de Lectoure in the Gers region in France and reverse appliqué embroidery spell the slow start of a new dress. A (hopefully!) happy marriage between traditions from both sides of the Atlantic.

mercredi 20 avril 2016


I had just been cast in an avant-garde British play and realized that my carefully curated, and in all manners, as ethical as possible wardrobe was just not going to do during the rehearsal process. This theatre thing was going to involve rolling around on the floor and making out with perfect strangers. Wincing, I thought that this was probably going to consist of sweatpants. Like any self-respecting Canadian, I strode into the nearest mall and picked out the least ugly looking pair of cotton jersey pants I could force myself to find. Last minute impulse buying. Not good. The memory of the put on cheeriness of the Gap girl at the till soon faded to zero. I hated myself almost immediately. What had I done? Bought into human exploitation and the pillaging of the Earth’s assets because I figured myself a last minute actress? But what was I going to do? Rehearsals were in a couple of hours. I had already signed the contract! I forced myself into those cheap cotton sweatpants and proceeded to roll around on the floor and make out with perfect strangers. I also decided that closing night was going to spell the end of this last gasp chance at an acting career; after which I was left with an unwanted and guilt-inducing pair of sweatshop sweatpants. 

They got stashed in a forgotten corner of my closet until I pulled them out again one day. Out of defiance. And necessity. Gardening, painting and refinishing furniture, airbrushing, textile dyeing, house cleaning, baking. They soon became indispensable to every dirty task I needed to accomplish. I found that they were much more comfortable than jeans to crouch around in when cutting and piecing fabric together on the floor and to my surprise, became the companion to many memories. I wore them when I stroked and tried to soothe my tired horse cast in Spring mud and slush as he struggled to get back to his feet surrounded by three neighbours, a vet and a tractor. I wore them when I attempted to help shovel the damage out and some life back into fellow citizens’ houses, more unlucky than I, during the Alberta flood of 2013. I wore them when I planted and later, victoriously harvested my very first garden of fruits and herbs. I wore them when I failed repeatedly and finally conquered making macarons. Whether I liked it or not, these unremarkable, cut-rate pants which were at odds with my worldview and which I had written off as a mistake, had become an integral part of my life.

With time, the inferior jersey has broken down, especially around the knees and the seat of the pants. I have mended rips, tears and holes over the years with large patches of straight stitched scrap fabric recycled from other projects. Sometimes, I leave the holes be a little while, to see where they go and when I am too tired to pick up another needle. The mending itself is crude and unexceptional, a far cry from the surface treatments that I usually indulge in, but it has created its own narrative and more importantly, it has extended the lifespan of a garment otherwise doomed by planned obsolescence. I often joke that these pants are my ship of Theseus, that one day I will have replaced all of the original parts with my scraps. Didn’t Louise Bourgeois say, “You repair the thing until you remake it completely.” (Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works, Germano Celant)? 

Japan’s mended and patched nineteenth century rural indigo rag textiles known as boro encompass the concept of ‘mottanai’ meaning, “too precious to waste”. Borne out of necessity and happy coincidence, the cloth transcends its utilitarian origins. Whilst I am not dealing in hand loomed and hand dyed cotton indigo from old Japan and whilst it might seem, at first, utterly ridiculous and counterproductive to spend any quantity of time or material resources in repairing such a disposable item of clothing, I have come to learn otherwise – a copious amount of the Earth’s resources, human hands and lives were mobilized and involved in the making of this garment and these are far “too precious to waste”. I have taken care of something that should have ended up in a landfill many moons ago and in so doing I feel that somewhere, I have sought to honour the work, the skill and the life of the unknown garment workers who toiled for little to make this pair of pants, the anonymous weavers, spinners, dyers, cutters, machine operators and cotton farmers who produced the material and the finished cloth; the Earth and her wealth that we plunder mindlessly every goddamn day. I have also made these pants mine, outside of consumption heavy marketing and advertising schemes. In many ways, this humble, patched beyond belief, stretched out and past their prime pair of sweatpants is my personal “fuck you!” to the fat cats at the top of the inhuman heap that is the fast fashion industry. That feels good, so unbelievably good.

I am further buoyed by Kate Fletcher’s recent “Craft of Use : Post-Fashion Growth”…

“For maintaining what we have, keeping garments in active use, can involve something as simple as approaching a piece with attention and imagination. There is also some ‘inconspicuous consumption’ of resources involved in on-going use, including that associated with laundering garments. Yet, perhaps, because use practices are enabled by, but not rooted in industry and commodity products, perhaps because they are distanced from the drivers of economic growth, they are often resource effective over time.

The activities embedded within the paths of use are also human-scale. They are pragmatic and within the realm and reach of us all. They cast their narrators as practitioners, craftsmen and women of use. They are fashion practitioners not because they are designing a new collection, but because they are using what they have with dedication and passion. They show insights, ideas and new ways of wearing and thinking about clothes that builds towards a satisfaction with what people already have. They draw on well-established practices of thrift, of domestic provisioning, of care for others, on the gift economy, on the informal channels through which clothes pass between friends and family. They stretch resources qualitatively and quantitatively, making them go further, appreciating them in greater detail, infusing them with human warmth and memory, folding them into others’ lives. This gives satisfaction: aesthetic pleasure, social regard, an ethical concern for others, the taking of responsibility for material effects.

[…] The craft of use is replete with material and ideological manipulation of garments and the agency to produce the world differently. On-going use is an affront to the consumer society, a slur on throwaway culture. It is fashion in a space where we choose ‘to want what one has’ and one where we revel in the power, imagination and possibility that it offers. American environmentalist Bill McKibben describes the change in priorities thus: ‘After a long period of frenetic growth, we’re suddenly older. Old, even. And old people worry less about getting more; they care more about hanging on to what they have, or losing it as slowly as possible… your goal becomes to husband that wealth.’

lundi 18 avril 2016

Freight train, freight train, run so fast...

La robe Black Gold de sortie à Calgary et dans la petite ville de Nanton dans le sud-est de l'Alberta... silos à céréales et chemins de fer abandonnés, poussière des prairies et inimitable ciel bleu.

mercredi 16 mars 2016

Black Gold

"Because the point of arrival is enigmatic, elusive, receding, because it wavers like a mirage on the road, always before us and only briefly with us, devoting oneself to mastering a practice unexpectedly leads through a time warp where past, present, and future commingle. I find the contradictory notion comforting. Contemporary life is all excerpts, fragments, reversals, and interruptions; it offends and delights us with its astounding, noisy discontinuity, but the work of mastery is very much as it was when artists thousands of years ago carved Cycladic figures or cast the Benin gold. […] Our common creative labors restore older, more familiar rhythms of humanity, and by doing so they ground us and temper the particular fragmentation and disconnections that define our age."

(An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery, Janna Malamud Smith)

Robe  trapèze faite sur la base du modèle d'Alabama Chanin en deux épaisseurs de jersey de coton bio noir travaillées à la technique dite de l'appliqué inversé. 
Commencée à la mi-mai 2015, elle a été complétée sept mois plus tard. 

samedi 27 février 2016

La robe Pallas

Ainsi nommée pour la déesse de la sagesse qui donna son nom au palladium, métal précieux du groupe platine et dont est fabriqué le perlage qui orne le bas de cette robe qui a été construite, peinte et décorée entièrement à la main. Faite sur la base du modèle de robe camisole d'Alabama Chanin et inspirée d'un édito du numéro de juillet 2009 de Vogue USA, elle est composée de deux épaisseurs de jersey de coton bio, l'une bleu foncée, l'autre rouge pomme et a été travaillée à la technique dite de l'appliqué inversé. Commencée à la mi-mai 2015, elle a été complétée cinq mois plus tard. C'est aussi une des dernières robes que m'aura vu faire ma chère et regrettée belle-mère, décédée d'un cancer dernièrement. Cette robe est donc dédiée à celle qui aura, la première, mis une aiguille entre les doigts, pour ainsi dire, catalysatrice de cette folle aventure couture dans laquelle je me suis embarquée voilà huit ans déjà !