By Nina J P Evans

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shakespeare & Company

The legendary English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Company was relaunched in 1951 by George Whitman, he has continued the legacy of Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company bookstore originally established in 1921. The bookstore unlike any other, housed a bed on the third floor, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, and Pound were frequent visitors; until the store closed due to the war. George an American in Paris who decided to stay on in Paris, rather than return to America at the end of WWII, and was happy to rejuvenate Shakespeare and Company. (And, in turn rejuvenated himself after war service and living to the grand age of 98 years). Set in the Parisian creative quarter, perfectly situated in the heart of Paris on the Left Bank, opposite Cath√©drale Notre Dame de Paris. This bookstore is like no other! It’s a kind of sanctuary, George, like Sylvia Beach before, openly welcomes writers; aspiring writers and artists. George’s kindness and hospitality has attracted writers like William Burroughs and Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell and Allen Ginsberg. For its history and generosity, it is undoubtedly the most famous bookstore in the world.
“When a bookstore opens its doors, the rest of the world enters, too, the day’s weather and the day’s news, the streams of customers, and of course the boxes of books and the many other worlds they contain—books of facts and truths, books newly written and those first read centuries before, books of great relevance and of absolute banality. Standing in the middle of this confluence, I can’t help but feel the possibility of the universe unfolding a little, once upon a time.”  The Yellow Lighted Bookshop (by Lewis Buzbee).
Shakespeare & Co is now managed by Sylvia Whitman, George Whitman's daughter.

Shakespeare & Co bookstore
Lindsey Yankey (signage) illustration
Photojourneyling: polaroids 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Made With Love

Olympia Le-Tan is a true artisan. She enjoys making these beautifully crafted clutches, based from tracings of the original book cover designs. They are about twenty percent bigger than the original cover versions. The artwork is made using silk threads and a colourful mix of felts as a fill colour. The slight enlargement makes crafting the typographic elements a little more easy to produce; she perfects the art of hand embroidery with silk threads. Aided by a trusty assistant to help her keep up with this ever-growing enterprise, as pieces are seen modelled by celebrities in magazines, more orders are placed. The inspirations for her pieces are based on the original iconic book covers, the works have a vintage feel to them, Dazed magazine sums them up as, placing the aesthetic of literature in fashion. There’s also a cookbook range. I think she’s made the right design choices, best suiting the hand crafted medium. It’s perhaps a little ironic comparing today’s things seen on a computer interface to the aesthetics of Olympia Le-Tan’s hand crafted pieces, they just seem so much more appealing! The reinterpretation, colours and texture makes these pieces come to life.