The one thing that really stopped my heart when I was at Maison et Objet was the LINDELL & Co stand, just around the corner from ours in Hall 1. There, I spied the most amazing embroidered cushions in unspeakably lovely colours, and when I spotted the self-same cushions in Florence Lopez’ apartment, my ignited desire to have one of my own sprang into flame.
LINDELL & Co was founded in 2007 by French-Swedish designer, Gabrielle Soyer, who had a chain-stitched textile from Kashmir that she’d been hoarding for years, which sparked an idea to bring her designs to life in this hard-to-come-by labour-intensive technique.
She travelled to Northern India to track down artisans skilled in this technique, and after asking people she met in the area, she was able to find the people still practicing this labour-intensive embroidery style. Each aspect of the cushions is made by hand by skilled artisans in India in New Zealand wool yarn, and it takes 3-4 days to make a single cushion, which is why all LINDELL & Co collections are produced in small quantities.
Once Maison was over, my very first task in Paris was to find the LINDELL & Co shop for myself, not realising that I ought to have made an appointment first. But lucky enough for me, I found Gabrielle Soyer in her shop on Rue de la Prieuré, hard at work, packing post Maison orders. Gabrielle and I chatted about all kinds of things while I debated my purchase, eventually settling on the duo below (pictured on our sofa at home).
That was a great shopping experience: I’d ended up buying two cushions, when I’d intended to get one, and I made a new friend in the process! Gabrielle and I met at a gallery later that evening, and then went out for a bite to eat with an old pal of hers, and met again the following evening for a drink at le Roi qui Pique. So my adored cushions are now not just beautiful objects for me to admire, but reminders of an interesting meeting and a lovely woman in Paris.
Read more about Gabrielle’s story in this article in Selvedge Magazine.
There’s a little PS to this story, because a had another heartstopping textile experience again last weekend, when I bought a beautiful rug by The Ninevites, handwoven in Peru. The Sanlam HmC show was the launch of designer Nkuli Mlangeni’s collection, and I’m quite convinced she’s going to keep making waves in the design world. Isn’t the rug a perfect friend for my cushions?
Again, it was not just a beautiful thing that I bought. Meeting Nkuli was a treat, as I got to learn more about her, and we’re sure to be meeting for tea soon. When shopping is not just a commercial transaction, but is an expression of connection, awe and appreciation, it really can be rather wonderful.
Who knows: perhaps Nkuli, Gabrielle and I will end up meeting for an early summer evening drink in Paris, Cape Town or Peru one day, enjoying a friendship brought together by a shared love of beautiful textiles.