Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

The CARON Collection is pleased to feature one of the outstanding shops who so ably provide stitchers with not only supplies but guidance, technical expertise, and inspiration. We hope you'll support your local shops and browse through our extensive SHOP LISTINGS to find a shop near you.

Fils Du Temps in Strasbourg, France

Sauntering along place d'Austerlitz in Strasbourg, France, one's attention is drawn to and immediately riveted by the tiny shop window of "Fils Du Temps"(Threads of the Times). The alluring display is a feast for the eyes in which each component is a treasure that speaks right to the heart! Their seemingly random arrangement belies the imaginative effort devoted to the placement of each piece to best effect. Framed samplers, embroidered pillows, aprons and baby bibs; stitched mittens and sweaters; and lace-edged kerchiefs are interspersed with antique dolls, puppets and whimsical figurines; miniature furniture, pottery and fanciful wind-chimes, amid a profusion of unusual blossoms spilling from baskets throughout. One simply cannot resist this enticing vignette, which is the reflection of the fantastical and remarkably theatrical imagination of Beatrice Orriere, come to life.

A treasure "hound" with an impeccable eye, Beatrice has amassed an eclectic collection of objets d'art which are being given a second life in her shop. The atmosphere within is so cozy and exudes such humor and mischief, that it is impossible not to be enchanted. An assortment of over 2000 cross stitch charts fills old crates set atop the original wood counter. A showpiece cupboard which Beatrice found in her parents' cave (cellar), was restored and now spills over with fabrics, tablecloths, towels, shirts, vests and virtually anything else that can be stitched on.

"Fils Du Temps", which started out as "Coin Broderie" (The Stitching Corner), is situated across from Strasbourg Island. The town sits right on the border between France and Germany, separated by the Rhine River. A short walk brings you to the famed Strasbourg Cathedral with it's magnificent tower clockworks. This Alsacian area is known as Krutenau, literally translated as "meadow of obstacles," referring to the time in the 14th century when the area was all marshland. Adjacent to Beatrice's shop are artisinal bakeries, greengrocers, flower shops, patisseries, antique shops, and bistros. But Strasbourg's greatest claim to fame is earned by its elaborate Christmas festivities as the acknowledged European "Capitale de Noel." Beatrice's own shop window is then transformed into a winter-wonderland, brimming with festive holiday paraphernalia.

When developing her displays, Beatrice adores integrating anything that has a connection to the particular embroidery motif being highlighted. Presenting a design based on the character of "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint Exupery, she juxtaposed it with an aged, well-thumbed copy of the book and an assortment of necklaces, bracelets and rings with the boa constrictor, elephant and sheep as motifs on the jewelry. Similar arrangements have been created to celebrate Halloween, the Alphabet, the Seasons and other themes.

When Beatrice envisioned having her own business, she first considered opening a "Tea Room" serving the kind of mouth-watering pastries her grandmother used to make. But serendipity came along in the form of a shopkeeper who was closing her store which contained a minuscule cross stitch corner. Beatrice realized that there were no other specialty stores for needlework in Strasbourg and that this type of shop also fit the primary requirement she had for her own enterprise: that it be a business which allowed for artistic and creative expression with a maximum of customer interaction. The dye was cast when she found space available in an old bookstore. Once it was converted into a needlework shop, Beatrice used the existing bookshelves to display her international inventory of cross stitch kits. She is especially keen on collecting antique alphabet samplers; her most precious one is dated 1811. Being a "great lover of popular art and letter (alphabet)," she realized in retrospect that she could "... only sell alphabets to embroider in a former bookstore...In life [there is] no stroke of luck, everything has its reasons and meanings."

More and more stitchers who were familiar with only a limited range of styles and techniques found their way to "Fils Du Temps," where Beatrice kept them fascinated with a constantly changing inventory. The casual feeling in the store encourages dialog between stitchers, who enthusiastically exchange hints and advice generating their own projects.

In her unending quest for the next "find," Beatrice uncovered a century old Alsacian design which she adapted and offered as a kit. Named "The Alsacians," it became her best seller. A recent trend afoot involves the rediscovery of "kelsch," a fabric, spun and woven from flax, that was popular long ago. The traditional color combinations are blue & white, red & white, and red & blue, which form a plaid-style pattern. Beatrice utilizes this material to fashion a custom mat border for "The Alsacians" embroidery to stunning effect. Beatrice then located an antique frame dealer and commissioned him to create a Louis Philippe frame for it. The Louis Philippe frames are often found on Hansi drawings, Hansi being an illustrator of great repute. The finished work of needleart was so handsome, everyone is clamoring to make one just like it!

Recent acquisitions for the shop include a new series of alphabets reproduced from Hansi's original designs. These have been widely available as motifs on cards, dishes and fabrics, but never for embroidery. Beatrice attempts to keep in stock a few specialty frames: some fabricated from exotic woods and others decorated with folk art designs in unusual shapes, but mostly she feels that Europeans are still very traditional in their tastes and that Americans are much more adventurous and imaginative.

Beatrice strives to stock specialty items not found elsewhere. She was the first to carry "Charland Designs" in France. Both Charland's patterns and the charms that embellish them are favorites and they tempt stitchers to work on very fine linen and experiment with new stitches. Another line featured is "Arts et Collections d'Alsace" which consists of innovative decorating accessories; nearly everything they produce is a replica of a museum piece such as those found in the Musee Alsacian. Their selection of Christmas ornaments is especially hard to resist. The Caron Collection of threads and fibers is an absolute must. The Waterlilies are especially compatible for reproducing the antique alphabet samplers. The color tones most favored are Royal Jewels, closely followed by Passion, Holiday and Cherry. These luscious silks add a unique quality to the olde lettering styles, giving them a contemporary flair without sacrificing their traditional character.

As the millennium approaches, Beatrice is already planning an exhibition in the year 2000, to express gratitude to her customers for their contribution to the continued success of "Fils Du Temps." A previous needlework show was mounted in 1995 in the Citroen Showroom, which Beatrice and friends converted into a magnificent gallery. This gala event astounded the Citroen staff not only by the visual transformation of the space, but especially by the number of people that the show attracted. The proceeds were donated to the "Enfants Espoire du Monde", a foundation which aids children in developing countries.

Beatrice is assisted in her endeavors by Anne, a student of art history, who exhibits her own special talent for combining beads and cross stitch to make one-of-a-kind needlework pictures, an exclusive at "Fils Du Temps."

Beatrice has developed an exceptional brand of alchemy which enables her to transform materials from one form into something completely different, dazzling and unexpected. Or maybe she just believes that if you think you can spin straw into gold...guess what? YOU CAN!

Fils Du Temps is located at 7 place d'Austerlitz, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Store Hours: Tuesday & Friday - 11am to 7pm
Wednesday & Thursday - 2:30pm to 6:30pm
Saturday - 10:30am to 12 noon and 2pm to 5pm
Fax: (33)

© 1997 The Caron Collection / Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com