A few years ago I met Ruth, an artist and blogger in Aix en Provence. At the time Ruth was contemplating moving to France from Ireland. Part of the reason for the desire to move from one beautiful country to another was because she was married to a Frenchman, not only French but also with a long history tied to the historical noble ribbon and silk textiles of Julien Faure from Saint Etienne. Ruth told me story after story about silk thread ribbons, of the archives dating back to the 1800s with samples of antique ribbons, each and everyone designed and created by her husband's family.
Soon after that famous day Ruth moved to Lacoste with her French Husband, and two children. from that moment on I have watched Ruth's artistry unfold and with that seen a glimpse of the ribbons she passionately speaks of.
Last night at the grand opening at The Musee Art and Industrie in Saint Etienne which showcased the historical ribbons of Julien Faure, French Husband and I surprised Ruth by showing up. Ruth never believed we would drive three hours to the opening. I later asked, "An invitation means to come doesn't it?" And because we are tied together with a ribbon her husband's family invited us to dine and spend the night with them.
From the museum, to Ruth's husband's family home, to the stories they shared I gained a greater appreciation for the craft of creating ribbon.
Ruth wore one of her creations to the opening: A piece of cut black velvet with gold thread, a Juilen Faure ribbon from the 1800s. Ruth takes old ribbon samples then meticulously mounts them to a metal wrist cuff. I wore one of her creations too: A 1900s silk Julien Faure floral ribbon that Ruth mounted with plexieglass.
Her Mother in law and Husband's grandmother wore Ruth's handmade bracelets as well. Each of Ruth's creations are one of a kind from the Julien Faure Noble Textile Company that celebrates it 150th anniversary this year.
Ruth's creations and artistry can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Rubanesque.
The above two photos are part of Ruth's collection (via Ruth's Blog)
The Musee Art and Industrie in Saint Etienne opening of the newest exposition of Julien Faure had many beautiful ribbons, historical ribbon sample books, haute couture clothing that was created with their silks and examples of the original functioning ribbon making equipment.
Julien Faure has created over 40,000 original ribbons since the 1800s most made with gold, silver silk threads.
The craftsmanship, the passion, the people who have spent a life time creating such a delicate yet functional art truly moved me. What a treasure Ruth has, what a gift she offers by creating such unique pieces with her husband's family history.
With a clientele list to match the the labor intensive, highly prized creativity: Chanel, Louboutin, Vuitton, Hermes...
The sample books hint at the force of creative imagination. Drawer after drawer, page after page full of varied sizes of ribbons.
Ribbons that speak of life in France, of the richness the French fashion has to offer, of the beauty of their creative spirits... Ribbons that connect the past to the present and hopefully for years to come.
Photo via Ruth's Blog.
Julien Faures Showroom
Address: 27 Boulevard de l'Industrie,
Phone:04 77 36 10 00