Sunday, July 23, 2006

Piu Piu - Pylônes - Piaf

The little guy sitting on the dollhouse sewing machine is called Piu Piu. He comes from Pylônes in Paris. Piu Piu is the nickname for little bird in France and Brazil and similar to our Tweedi Bird character.
If you're crazy, nuts for goofy chatchkes go to Pylônes.
There are 5 Pylônes shops in Paris, 6 in Japan and 2 in NYC.

I spotted Piu Piu in the window of the Marais' Pylônes on 13 rue St Croix de la Bretonnerie and it was instant love. I fell for the one on the upper left because of his complementary coloring and he was damn cute. A cook book author, was wearing this baublely illustrated necklace at a James Beard House event 10 years ago - I was a house photographer there for 7+ years. Each epoxy resin globe has silly illustrations inside: numbers, dog muzzles, faces, star fish, monkey twins etc. Next trip over I went to their tiny closet-size shop in Galerie Vivienne and got the necklace, earings, bracelet. I passed on the ring.

I've always had a thing for sparrows. They flit about when I walk to the pool at 7am and yack outside my window even earlier. So Piu Piu was an easy addition to my collection of what-nots.

When you bring home a new pet you should know something about him...
I didn't know this little guy was a working bird.
I didn't know he was a magnet for paperclips and straight pins until I wrote this post. I didn't know he would chirp non-stop once out of his box. See the white paper tab sticking out of the bird's bottom in the 2nd picture?

Pull the white tab -> the chirping begins.
I didn't know he was created by artist,
Ionel Panaït a Romanian designer living in France.

Piu Piu is a chirping color wheel for me.
He's made up of 2 sets of
complimentary colors.
RED + GREEN or/ RED + TURQUOISE a similar combo
The 3rd set BLUE + ORANGE is missing on this little guy but I can live with that. Here's a watercolor tip for those inclined - When you mix 2 complimentary colors together you'll get some very handsome GREYS..much better than using Paynes grey or Davy's grey straight out of the tube.

Piu Piu, watercolor, 12 x 10"

Painting Piu Piu is an ongoing project for me. Here he is next to my La Vaissellerie tea pot. French customs stopped me leaving Charles de Gaulle airport for New York. I thought it was Piu Piu, chirping away in my purse like mad, but I'd forgotten to get rid of an AirFrance fork I'd snagged on the trip over. They didn't make much of a fuss and just giggled about Piu Piu. He can be useful at customs too. A working bird.

The "Little Sparrow" or Petit Moineau has a new movie about her, LA VIE EN ROSE which means the sweet life). It's named after one of Piaf's most loved songs. The words in French are ( here. And in English as sung by Louis Armstrong are here.


  1. Oh THANKS Coquette.
    Why choose? Get both. Of course when you're traveling it's easy to give into instant gratification. And I used to be a professional shopper of sorts in fashion- I designed too, but would get sent to London etc for 3-day jeans-idea shopping trips before digital cameras and the Internet. I learned quickly buy it when you see it-you rarely get the chance to return and it can be M.I.A. when you do.

  2. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Carol, this is the most fun post! Is this an example of trope, this stringing together of oddly related objects, like beads on a necklace? Regardless, I love the way your mind works--- a little wacky, a lot colorful, and very entertaining! (Oh, and you're wildly informative, too.)

  3. Fantastic, this is a wonderful post amongst wonderful post, I love it, the variety, fun, the painting!! Oh Carol, you amaze me!

  4. Hi Carol

    I love your blog. It's really interesting. I visited Paris, "the city of light" myself earlier this year. It's a beautiful city and particularly beautiful in the evening when the Eiffel Tower starts twinkling. I enjoyed reading about Piu Piu. He's cute. Your post showing the chocolate pictures was good too. It reminded me of the book and film, "Chocolat!"


  5. What a LOVELY post! I have one of those japanese cats too! And THANK YOU for letting me know about Pylônes. Can't wait to watch "la vie en rose".

  6. Anonymous7:06 AM

    i have a baby sparrow sitting on my keyboard right now! i was calling it a 'finch' and (in)appropriately named him Officer Fincherello.

    I don't suppose he'll know the difference.

  7. Anonymous8:57 AM

    just found your adorable blog via danny gregory. love the little toys :)

  8. Thanks anonymous for the heads up on Danny Gregory's web site!Terrific and inspiring.

    Moi-now that you mention it, my happy cats have no problem getting along with Piu Piu...Pylones is a Pandora's box.

    Naomi- I loved the book Chocolat too..I should read it again since chocolate has such a major place in my life now :)

    Laura- I think this IS a "trope". It's a natural process for me. I've always been accused of jumping from subject to subject. No one else saw the connections, but PB gives me the opp to show the visual leaps in my thought processes and make sense of it all :)

    Now I have to go investigate the difference between sparrows and finches...

  9. Thanks Coco for giving the happy cats a name. The yellow one on the far left is a "friendly" cat with both paws up. I don't know it's name though...

  10. Anonymous8:00 AM

    I've never seen a piu piu before.....just fell totally in love!

  11. I visit the Pylônes online shop sometimes... the little paperclip sparrow is my favourite! Lovely painting.

  12. Carol

    Just delightful artistic imagination how you can come up with the combination of art, pictures and a story line,,,, it delights me each morning I read your emails,,,, Love Piu Piu bird,he did get to be with you in the June post "Paris Birds" learned something new about mixing paint. the air line customs must get a chuckle out of you coming and going when they see all these little objects...
    Enjoy traveling with you through your wonderful posts.
    Bonne Journee Annie

  13. Anonymous12:03 PM

    Cutey bird, I found one in a thrift shop here in Austin Texas...fifty cents he led me to your refreshing blog...Maurice Schiller.


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