Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist

Oh, my! Has it truly been seven years since I shared the beautiful artistry and rustic French farmhouse of Alexandra Ritchie of Byloom & Hyde? Because that is far too long for a talent and spirit as lovely as hers.

Let’s revisit a conversation with the artist and peek once again around her French country home and atelier in France. It’s a Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne where bits of cotton, leather, and salvaged textiles are transformed into timeless creations by a lovely dream weaver.

Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist. Byloom & Hyde.
Behold the loom and the artist at work! Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist. Photo: Byloom & Hyde.

First…Some personal news.

Just before we explore the amazing creations and farmhouse…some personal news, friends. It has been quite a week for this fairy. I have just returned from the hospital and welcome your prayers. A gastrointestinal complication is to blame, and I have some healing to do. I’m weak, weary, and appreciative of all of your gentle thoughts. I’m discouraged but trusting…leaning on everlasting arms and looking forward to recovery. Thanks in advance.

Second…Have you watched NBC’s “Making It” yet?

This is such a fun show! If you love Etsy, you will likely enjoy this romp. From executive producers and hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, this lighthearted competition series celebrates the creativity and craftiness in all of us. Think: a six-episode competition with eight of the most talented makers from across the country. They take on a variety of handmade projects with the hopes of impressing Poehler, Offerman and expert judges, Simon Doonan and Dayna Isom Johnson. Poehler is a self-proclaimed crafting novice who has long harbored a secret appreciation for those who can imagine and execute incredible things by hand

Third…How did this Etsy shop appear on my radar anyway?

The charmingly timeless and tranquil images of beautiful handmade bags from Alexandra Ritchie’s Etsy shop Byloom and Hyde called to me when I glimpsed them almost a decade ago. I just had to know more about the maker and her French home near Angouleme!

And I could not wait to become an owner of a one-of-a-kind Byloom & Hyde bag!

Want to see mine?

My Leather & Woven Byloom and Hyde Bag

Rich, buttery leather in a sandy shade of bliss with beige wavy goodness.

Byloom & Hyde leather handmade bag. Handmade in Dordogne, France.
My beautiful handmade bag. Photo: Byloom & Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist.

Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist

Each bag made by her is custom, and I love sneaking peeks of her rustic farmhouse and barn from the photos she snaps of her wares.

My beautiful handmade bag. Photo: Byloom & Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist.
My beautiful handmade bag. Photo: Byloom & Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist.
My beautiful handmade bag. Photo: Byloom & Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist.
My beautiful handmade bag. Photo: Byloom & Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist.

Byloom and Hyde: In the Shop Now

Here is a sampling of her current inventory which includes bags/purses, clothing, jewelry, and shearling.

Byloom and Hyde. White Gold Shimmer Leather Tote.
Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist. Byloom and Hyde: White Gold Shimmer Leather Tote.
Byloom & Hyde handmade leather bag.
Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist. Byloom and Hyde: White Gold Shimmer Leather Tote.
Byloom & Hyde leather bag.
Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist. Byloom and Hyde: White Gold Shimmer Leather Tote.
Byloom and Hyde Grey Boiled Wool Tunic Sweater.
Grey Boiled Wool Tunic Sweater from Byloom and Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist.
Byloom and Hyde pale grey leather slouchy leather shoulder bag.
Pale Grey Leather Slouchy Leather Shoulder Bag – Byloom and Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse.
Byloom and Hyde Woven Choker Necklace.
Woven Choker Necklace from Byloom and Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne.
Byloom and Hyde dark beige basket tote.
Dark Beige Basket Tote from Byloom and Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne.

Conversation With Alexandra Ritchie

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?

Byloom and Hyde boiled wool tunic.
Boiled Wool Tunic from Byloom and Hyde. Interview with Alexandra Ritchie.

Can you describe your charming French farmhouse?

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.”

Photo: Alexandra Ritchie. Alexandra Ritchie’s home in a village near Angoulême, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. Located on a plateau overlooking a meander of the Charente River, the city is nicknamed the “balcony of the southwest.” The city proper’s population is a little less than 42,000 but it is the center of an urban area of 110,000 people extending more than fifteen kilometers (9.3 miles) from east to west. Rustic French Farmhouse Inspiration.

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.”

BEFORE: Barn during renovation.
BEFORE: Barn during renovation.
The renovated barn. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne & Artist. Photo: Alexandra Ritchie.

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 tranquility here.”

French farmhouse. Photo by Byloom & Hyde's Alexandra Ritchie.
Photo: Alexandra Ritchie. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne.

It must feel like a dream come true to do 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.”

Artist Alexandra Ritchie of Byloom & Hyde at her loom.
Artist Alexandra Ritchie of Byloom & Hyde.

What is special about life in South West France?

“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!!”

It does sound rather 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!!”

Shearling jacket. Byloom & Hyde.
Shearling Jacket. Byloom & Hyde.
Byloom & Hyde.
Byloom & Hyde.

How did your business–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.

I’m hooked!”

Byloom and Hyde brown leather and beige weave bag.
Brown leather and Beige Weave Bag from Byloom and Hyde.

What 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.”

Byloom & Hyde.
Alexandra Ritchie of Byloom & Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne.

The process of making a single bagcan 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.

Alexandra Ritchie of Byloom & Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne.
Alexandra Ritchie of Byloom & Hyde. Rustic French Farmhouse in Dordogne.

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.”

Pebbled Leather Slouchy Purse from Byloom and Hyde.
Pebbled Leather Slouchy Purse from Byloom and Hyde.

What three things were inspiring the artist in 2011?
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!”

Be sure to check out Alexandra Ritchie’s amazing Etsy shop RIGHT HERE.

Peace to you right where you are.


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  1. Mary
    September 1, 2018 / 12:11 pm

    Oh Michele, so sorry to hear that your health is not cooperating with your spirit. I will lift you UP and keep you in my prayers. Strength and healing and energy are on the way. Be positive and determined that He wants all good for you. Thank you for a lovely post…so interesting. I admire creative people so much. They give balance to an overwhelmingly techno world. There is such peace in quiet work. Feel better, dear kindred spirit!

    • michele
      September 1, 2018 / 5:47 pm

      Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I’m trusting. xox

  2. Karol
    September 1, 2018 / 12:21 pm

    So sorry to hear you weren’t well. I’m sending good thoughts to you. We miss your presence when you are away.

    • michele
      September 1, 2018 / 5:47 pm

      Thanks, Karol. I’m struggling and hoping to get more answers and healing. xox

  3. September 1, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    I am so sorry to hear you are having health issues. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery. I visit often and love your blog. Prayers for you………….

    • michele
      September 1, 2018 / 10:53 pm

      I have the most compassionate and kind readers. Thank you so much. 🙂

  4. Sheila in SF
    September 1, 2018 / 10:57 pm

    Sending healing thoughts and prayers for better tomorrows — love your blog.

    • michele
      September 1, 2018 / 11:01 pm

      I am so grateful for these healing gifts. Thanks for reading, lovely one.

  5. Anne Nonne-Muss
    September 2, 2018 / 2:43 am

    Gentle thoughts with strong prayer for my fellow Teilhard de Chardin follower.

    • michele
      September 2, 2018 / 10:12 am

      Thank you so much, fellow friend of Teilhard. Peace to you right where you are.

  6. Patricia
    September 2, 2018 / 8:22 am

    Dear Michele,

    Rest in His Arms.

    I have struggling since a surgery on June 5. My doctor recommended Patience, I pass that on to you with my prayers for your recovery. It’s not easy, I know.

    • michele
      September 2, 2018 / 10:07 am

      Oh, thank you for joining me, friend. Praying for you just now as you heal and grow stronger in health and spirit. I need the encouragement and am so grateful. YES. So right about patience. What I keep coming back to is ‘Give yourself time – it’s the kind thing to do,’ and your echoing of this is spot on.

  7. Karen H.
    September 2, 2018 / 4:22 pm

    Sending love and hugs for a swift recovery. May you find this day of rest filled with God’s healing power. ❤️

    • michele
      September 2, 2018 / 7:10 pm

      Thanks so much. I’m trying to rest and trust. It’s hard, and there is a lot of pain. xox

  8. Kristin
    September 2, 2018 / 7:33 pm

    Dear Michelle,

    I am praying that you feel Christ’s loving arms around you and for healing. Your sweet spirit comes through in your words. One of the first things I do every day is check in with you! Sending you my love.

    • michele
      September 2, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      You are a ray of light in my pain. Thank you for the encouragment.

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