Mine is a curious soul.
When someone else’s artistry
moves me, I can’t help it…
I have to know more about
the creative hands behind the creation.
Which is how I was led to textile designer
I teased you the other day
leather bags made in rural France.
Today we chat with the designer
about her home, business and the
magic behind those lovely creations.
Alexandra’s home in a village near Angouleme
Your 400 year old home in
South West rural France
came with a barn you renovated?
“The house was attached to the barn to form a courtyard so it made sense to make it one property…during WW2, the house was occupied by the Germans, and several antique cast iron beds still remain from that period.”
Tell us about the surrounding farmland and forest.
“Sweeping fields of sunflowers can be seen everywhere in the month of July – it’s so beautiful. I love to listen to the frogs and crickets as they sing their song at sunset. There is an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquillity here.”
Isn’t the well magnificent?
Find more lovelies here.
Can you tell us about this magnificent loom?
“My weaving loom had been lying in storage gathering dust waiting for its big moment. I have such a love for the texture and construction of cloth – I studied constructed textiles – mainly embroidery and weave at Glasgow School of Art in Scotland (Jonathan Saunder’s class actually!) and realised it truly was a passion of which I would never grow tired.”
The restored barn!
How would you describe your style?
“Bohemian with classic restraint…
the artist in me has to be expressed
but all with subtle understatement.
Does that make sense?
My home mixes old and new everywhere –
I love my old crumbly gilt frames,
stone walls and shabby French vintage finds.
I am most comfortable with muted shades
of grey, french blue and stone.
Our home would not be complete without
Rocco our adoring Rhodesian ridgeback
curled up by the kitchen door.”
During the barn’s renovation
How did Byloom and Hyde come to be?
“Byloom and Hyde
(by weaving loom and leather hide literally)
has come about since I settled here in France.
I find my weaving method marries so well
with rare leather finds I come across
and creates a unique combination.
one of her incredible handmade bags
The process of making a single bag…
can you walk us through it?
“Spontaneity is vital! It keeps my ideas fresh –
sometimes my hands move before I have
the idea in my head which creates unexpected
results even for me – it keeps me on the edge.
Being too fixed in my mind stifles the creative process.
OOAK or rather ‘one of a kind’ pieces or
at best ‘limited edition’ work well for me
– it keeps repetition to a minimum. Passion is key.”
find it here
It must feel like a dream come true
doing what you love in a place you love…
“It is a dream fulfilled living here!
There is a natural, slower way of life here –
we aren’t caught up in the race
everyone else seems to be in.
I breathe a sigh of contentment when I
realise once again that it is possible to live differently.
The French are most definitely in no haste
to change to the next best thing all the time.
They still ‘wait’ in queues, postpone things
until they are ready, have two hour
lunch breaks and don’t work on days off.
Admittedly, being from the UK I do suffer
from frustration sometimes when I want
things done yesterday!!
But I do admit I no longer use my cellphone.”
No cell phones—now that IS romantic!
“As for romantic – having a young family,
being a full-time Mum, running my studio
and renovating a barn…
the romantic side of things gets
a little hazy!!”
What inspires you?
“Quiet tranquility all around me…
“The Aladdin’s cave of my leather supplier.
One day I’m going to get lost in there never to return!
And it is so disorganised I never know what I’m going to come across next.”
“Rodarte – what an inspiration!
I love the fact these two sisters are just
doing their own thing away from the city,
not compromising their choices for anyone
– and what creativity they have!”
is brimming with
gorgeous handmade lovely
for you to browse and magical
gifts for you and your loved ones await!
So do visit
Byloom and Hyde
and say hello for me!
Many thanks to the creatively driven Alexandra
who so graciously welcomed us into her home,
studio and thoughts.
Picked a favorite bag yet?
Peace to you right where you are.