Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vivian's Atelier

 Author Vivian is clearly an expert embroiderer. Some might be inclined to conclude that she is also an expert at embroidery in the figuritive sense as well.
 I visited last Friday to check out her claim of owning NINE cats(!)
 If you look at Vivian's books, Le Road Trip and When Wanderers Cease to Roam, you'll see many cats strewn about liberally.
 I decided to take a count. Here is cat#2.
 Vivian claims there is a cat lurking in her closet.
Do you see it? I do not.
 This is Vivian's studio or  atelier where her books are created. This is for real.
 Vivian's inspiration board.
 And the butterflies in Le Road Trip on page 163. Definitely for real.
 Why Vivian has seen fit to hang on to samples of French dirt illustrated in Le Road Trip, I did not inquire, not wanting to seem too nosy. Perhaps they have sentimental value?
 Sketches for her newest book in the works on gardens. (I hope I'm not giving away trade secrets here).
 More embroidery samples on the studio wall.
Another page from Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France. I did not see any Morris Columns in Vivian's atelier. Not even a miniature. Honestly it really doesn't matter how many cats she says she has, the woman can tell a very good story and will have you laughing endlessly as well as becoming informed on France in ways that make excellent conversation at a dinner party.
Just do it!


La Table De Nana said...

Love her books..thanks to you and her of course:) I love to embroider also:)

You two must have fun ensemble.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Vivian sort of yells at me regarding my own book concept and cracks the whip a lot etc.
She's dogmatic for such a cat person...
But we do have fun.

Amy said...

Wow. She puts my humble embroidered dish towels to shame! (

I love her art, her collections (French dirt!!!!!!) and her cats.

Lucinda said...

Three cats plus a lurker in the closet is enough in my books to say whatever you like.
I once knew a friend who called her cat 'Lurka'
The cat was never seen by me or anyone else I know of. There may be something about the mystery of cats that leads one to exaggerate and wish they were more present?

Vivian Swift said...

Oh, it's all too true: I have nine cats. I should have showed you my cat food bills -- that would convince you for sure.

I'm on the look out for cat No. 10, because I need a new cat...named Biff. I've recently realized that I can't go through life without a cat named Biff. said...

Realment tot encantador. Gràcies per fer-me conèixer a Vivian.

Merisi in Vienna said...

Oh là là!
Madame's in the counting house,
counting out the cats -
isn't that a dainty way
to entertain the guests?

The embroidery is simply out of this world, thank you for sharing your visit with us!

robinita said...

This is ever so charming! Thanks!

Nikon said...

I love cats & I love this post! Nice to see a view of the countryside and the cats scattered about. I like the greenery.
Is the third illustration a watercolor by you?

Parisbreakfasts said...

No, no everything is Vivian Swift's artwork.

Terri in MT said...

I just stumbled on your blog as I was Googling what to wear in Paris in September (my new hubby and I are visiting for our honeymoon). I LOVE your site! The pictures are absolutely so evocative of Paris and all things French.
Thanks for giving me this beautiful French moment ce matin.
Tres amicalement,

Jerri-Ann said...

Do I see the elusive closet cat in in the upper left corner of the closet? I have 4 black cats & 1 tuxedo cat, who are clever lurkers all. No Biffs tho! Can hardly wait for Vivian's new gardens book! OR for yours, dear Carol!!! Vite! Vite!!!

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

Well, you came up a bit short on the cat count but there is such a thing as artistic license, so perhaps we should give Ms. Swift the benefit of the doubt.....Loved seeing her embroidery! Makes me want to tackle some more myself!

Sketchbook Wandering said...

I have read her books & yes, glowing reviews! Love the integration of the Twain quote with the cats...She, like you, finds connections. I wish I could see the embroidery in person, it looks exquisite. And yes, your book will be great!

Parisbreakfasts said...

how ever did I come up short?
do you see cats I don't see??

Parisbreakfasts said...

Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the Trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twaid (1835-1910)

Thanks I missed seeing that SW!

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

After reading her.. When Wanderers cease to which BTW was excellent.. I enjoyed seeing where she lives. I loved her Feather collection and how she framed it. I have been collecting Feathers for years here. What a fantastic way to show them off. I need to check out more of her books. Thanks for the great post.

corrie said...

Vivians lovely bright open studio certainly looks conducive to creativity! I also collect little rocks, shells, leaves and feathers etc from places I visit. Lovely memory triggers of a happy day. :-)

Melinda Larson-Horne said...

After reading about Vivian's book on your blog, I bought the book and blogged about it too. Here is my post:

Thanks for the suggestion!

Sweet Freak said...


ArtistLady said...

What fun to visit your blog everyday and see your latest eye and mind "candy"! I've mentioned you in the watercolor class/workshop that I've been attending for years ... and recently brought in Vivian's book, Le Road Trip. They all loved it! And her first book is sitting on my night stand right now. Thanks for sharing! Her embrodery is divine. (Vivian: how about designing some embroidery kits?!) :-)

Sandy Allain said...

Great pictures. I think your place looks cozy and comfortable. I love those cat pictures. I simply love those feline critters and the way they could wrap everyone around with their paws. Thanks for sharing a slice of your life.

embroidery designs said...

Three cats plus a lurker in the closet is enough in my books to say whatever you like.
I once knew a friend who called her cat 'Lurka'
The cat was never seen by me or anyone else I know of. There may be something about the mystery of cats that leads one to exaggerate and wish they were more present?