Monday, May 11, 2009

The Bead Stylist: The True Grit Behind the Glitter in Paris (NYTimes)

When I first started blogging about items I find in The New York Times Style & Fashion, I thought the content might not connect with most readers due to either the high-fashion status the artist or designer, or some of the fashion houses mentioned; but the more articles I discover the more I realize a basic reality which is each artist, designer, entrepreneur had to start somewhere.

Featured in this article is one who started as an engineer and the other a high school drop out who ended up repairing televisions and radio's. Both feel that what they learned early on are skills of the trades they started in and helped them to become successful at designing jewelry.

Perhaps that's what appeals to me most - besides the hard work - which is that some unrelated, or seemingly unrelated part of your life experience can not only help you find your passion, but find successful.  I had no idea that I would ever end up in the world of beads and beading; the one thing I did know was that I loved research and never quite knew what I would apply it too. Not knowing anything about this new venture and having to rely on customers that knew what they wanted while at the same time finding it virtually impossible to locate we relied on each other. I knew I could find them what they wanted, and they were teaching about the beading business in return. That was over eight years ago, and there is still so much I don't know, which is fine because that's what keeps it interesting.

Here's an excerpt from the article, but again the whole article is worth a read:


Though their long-term commitment to the profession is unwavering, nothing in the respective backgrounds of either designer could have foretold a career in jewelry.

“I have a degree in engineering,” said Mr. Bäumer, the son of a German diplomat and a French porcelain painter, who attended the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in Paris, an exclusive French grande école.

“That, and surfing, helped me understand the rhythm of the elements and the importance of perfect technique.”

Coming from a more modest background, Mr. Tournaire was severely asthmatic as a child, a condition that resulted in long periods confined to his home, playing alone with stray bits of metal and wood. After dropping out of high school, he went into radio and television repair by default, a profession, he said, that helped him understand tools and gave him technical dexterity.

At 23, stirred by an urge to do something more creative, Mr. Tournaire took over the basement of his parents’ home in Saint-Germain-Laval, a village of fewer than 1,000 people in central France, and began making jewelry for friends out of kitchen utensils.

“Experimenting in that basement, I learned that I could use any unorthodox object or tool to make jewelry,” he said.

From these unconventional beginnings, both Mr. Bäumer and Mr. Tournaire have had pieces included in the permanent collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, an arm of the Louvre that is home to the museum’s furniture, fashion and jewelry collections.


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