Wednesday, 27 April 2011
For this third issue of my personal guide of must-to-see places in Paris, I've the honor to introduce you Monsieur Henri Launay and his wonderful "dolls hospital". In reality, he does not need a presentation because several newspapers from the four corners of the world had already written articles about him, among them you can find the New York Times as well, and he is also cited in the entry "doll" of wikipedia... he is the most reputed "dolls doctor" over the world, a specialist of clear international fame. For that, it was impossible to not write an article about him and his unique boutique in Paris...
Since 45 years ago, the work of Henri Launay consists in repairing dolls and during this time over 30.000 little plastic injured passed under his expert hands. When you enter in his shop you can find him always at work with his white laboratory coat, swamped with dolls of any size and material, while a Verdi's aria is passing on the background. It is an authentic plunge in a wonder-world that, I'm sure about, has not equal in no other part of the planet. Thanks to an enormous stock of old parts, such as legs, arms, heads, eyes, torsos, which overcrowds his clinic, he is able to take care of all kind of old dolls. Nobody has taught him the savoir-faire of this art: he is a self-made specialist and he learned by himself to recognized how a doll is done, how to find the right spare part, and how to replace it. Asking him about what is his favorite tool, he answers proudly "simply my hands", underlining how in his work it is important accumulated know-how, personal experience, and patience... all qualities and capabilities that can hardly be taught.
But, the reason that pushed me to write this post about him is not only his world-wide reputation and his enormous savoir-faire. It is indeed the idea that lie beyond his activity that inspired me: the human being gives extra-material importance to things since the dawn of the world. This is not fetichism; things are a substitute of presences, thanks to things we remember people, our loved ones, and often we believe that we could transfer part of our sentiments and feelings to future generations thanks to things. The dolls, especially oldest ones, build before the consumeristic era in a time where they were an expensive toy often bought after sacrifices and hard work, could be the idealistic baton to hand on from a generation to another, from mother to daughter... and if this baton was accentually broken, don't worry because the Dr. Launay will be able to cure it assuring its changeover.
In an consumeristic era turned toward waste and disenchantment, Henri Launay in my opinion makes a revolutionary act, resisting with his little activity to a world made of disposable good, made in series, that all are all the same without any value nor charm. You can find Henri Launay in Paris, 114 avenue Parmantier, 75011, from Mon. to Fri, 10h.-12h. and 15h-17h; tel. 01.43.57.09.02.
Etichette: little treasures of Paris
Monday, 25 April 2011
Parks are for Parisian the most common place where to spend sundays, above all when the weather is fine during shiny days. More than parks located in the downtown, called "jardins" (for instance, Luxembourg, Tuileries, Palais Royal, Plantes...), Paris's got two big green "lungs". These two large natural spaces are located one on the western boundary of Paris and the other on its eastern side: the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes. Very closed to the town, and accessible with the metro, these big parks are suitable for walks among the green, footing, biking, and even for canoeing. Moreover, it is also an ideal place for chance encounters, such the one occurred me during this sunday of Easter in the Bois de Vincennes....
Indeed, I had the pleasure and the surprise to meet the only duckling in the world who hates the water! While I was on the board of a little artificial pond in the Parc Floral, a part of the Bois de Vincennes, I've found a little duckling who was complaining because he was tired to stay in the water but he was too little to climb over the edge of the pool... so I've helped him with my hand and I stated that, instead to be scared of me, he wanted to stay by me and he also adored to be cuddled! It is useless to say that I spent the rest of the afternoon with him, and only in evening he jumped again in the water to join up his mom and its brothers and sisters...
Etichette: Memi's world
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Sometime ago I posted about the Petits Oursons Gimauves, the marshmallow bears covered by chocolate that are almost a flag snack here in France. This time, I took decision to produce some plaster Oursons molding them with the help of a special silicon molder: from being a snack during afternoons passed over books, they now become toys to be customized with your favorite colors and hanged besides your pictures on the wall or exposed on your shelves. I hope you like it, you can find it on my etsy...
Thursday, 14 April 2011
draw by Happy Doodle Land
For the second issues of this special series of posts dedicated to my favorite illustrators, I'm glad to present you Flora, alias Happy Doodle Land. Since I discovered her creations I've fallen in love with her style. I find indeed that she's able to express a great sweetness and fun in her illustrations. Moreover, she shows an extraordinary capability of simplification in her artistic research. Her style, thank to this linear and simple features, is really suitable for being turned in rubber stamps... and indeed she did a complete series of rubber stamps, one more beautiful than the other, that give the desire to collect them all (me too I've bought a couple of them for my personal collection). More than being a designer and illustrator, Flora make also cute stuff with her hand, which you can find here... I'm sure, her creations will make you smiling and it will be impossible for you to not love them!!
As in the case of Gemma, I have carved a special rubber stamp set with one of her design: here's above the outcome... it is my special way to show my love for her art!
Monday, 11 April 2011
Yesterday I've found a really sunny sunday here in Paris, the temperature was even too hot, the weather gave me the impression that it was a summer day. So, I took decision to walk around the town and, crossing the Canal Saint-Martin, I've found myself in the district of Belleville. I love this part of Paris, it remembers me the Pennac's books in which "authentic" parisians coexist with a rooted Chinese community and also with Maghrebi people in a overcrowding but convivial district. This kind of multiculturalism is also enhanced by a blooming of urban artistic performances, such as by graffiti, writers reunions, and paper patchworks on the walls: the photos below is what you could find walking around in Belleville...
The only thing that was lacking in this amazing melting pot was a good Italian ice cream, and I craved for it to such extend (due to the hot weather) that I started to carve a ice cream stamp set as soon as I was back at home... it's not a joke, I've really carved it! Here's the outcome, I hope you like it, I put it on my etsy.
Etichette: Handcarved Rubber Stamps
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
I love very much this song. Composed by Serge Gainsbourg, it became the flag song of France Gall who performed it for the first time in 1964. Recently, April March made two covers of it, one in French, and the second in English (whose title is Chick Habit) that was also part of the soundtrack of Tarantino's Grindhouse. What I love in this song is its kitsch taste, with the voice of the singer quite irritating and naughty but melodic at the same time, and the fact that it smells so much of 1960s. Moreover, and most importantly, what I love in this song as well is the way in which it presents a woman that does not fear about to show her childish and fickle side without allowing to anybody to trample on her.
And I took inspiration from this "sweet steadiness" for creating these bracelets that, with their retro style, will be able to enlighten these first spring days. You find them on my etsy.