When Sean and I went to Paris a couple months ago, one of the most helpful things for our trip was a little book a coworker gave me to borrow. It's called Paris: Made by Hand and it features 50 little shops with handmade, vintage, and found goods. When I was flipping through the book on the plane ride to Paris, there was one shop that stuck out to me in the book and we went there first.
That shop was La Droguerie, a bead + yarn + trimmings shop in the 1st Arrondissement. Once a butcher's shop, La Droguerie now has walls and walls of colorful yarn, tinkly beads, and beautiful trimmings. I bought a little collection of purple glass beads, some feathers, a felt flower, and some plastic beads.
(Sean waited outside. ;P)
When I got home to NYC, I started working on the necklace. I've never made a necklace in this style so it was a bit of a test run for me. First, I stretched a double layer of silk over an embroidery hoop. Then I took one of my roommate's necklaces and traced a shape I love with pencil on the silk. After that I took a bit of cord I got in a For the Makers box and stitched the cord to the outline. (This is a bit tedious but it adds a nice outline to the necklace and it keeps you in the lines as you're stitching beads.)
Next I stitched an additional outline of tube beads next to the cording and added the center element of the necklace.
Then I started to construct the skeleton of the necklace's design. The tube beads were great for adding a design and the seed beads were great for filling in.
After that I took the silk off of the embroidery hoop, cut an inch around the design and then folded it under and stitched it to the front. (With that process I also secured some of the outer beads.) Then I stitched the ties to the corners and added another layer of silk to the back to hide all of my knots and stitches. I made concentric stitches to secure the extra backing.
About a month ago Sean and I went to Dia: Beacon, an art museum in upstate NY. I photographed the necklace there in the Richard Serra sculptures.
If you've got plans to visit Paris, definitely get a copy of Paris: Made by Hand... And Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. I'm still reading the Hemingway book but every time I open it I get reminded about the clinking of cafe dishes, the feel of walking on cobblestone streets, and the excitement of walking into a dark colorful bead shop full of the most perfect trimmings. Besides New York, I've never fallen in love with a city as quickly as I did with Paris, but both of these books were big players in the process. :)