• ABOUT ATELIER JEUX D’ESPRIT

    In the tradition of Europe’s great cities, this atelier, tucked away in one of Dunedin’s historic buildings, shows the work of one craftswoman. Elena works with textiles of all kinds, exploring shade, shape and texture in the making of her whimsical trifles.

    Working with hand-picked fabrics both new and vintage, using silks, wool, linen and cotton for all the qualities for which they have so long been treasured.

    This blog documents Elena's creations, her inspiration, passion and process.

Tweed forever!!

Every second issue of women’s magazines in the fifties seemed to have an article about how to make an elegant handbag that would look like guineas but cost shillings.  I love that attitude to achievable everyday elegance.  The images that accompany the articles are often just as inspiring as the bag to be made. I’ve certainly … Continue reading

Divine fabric, or an ambition achieved!

I have had this fabric since about the time I took on the lease for the studio (which is already a long time ago!).  I bought it from one of the astonishing fabric shops in  London’s Berwick St., even though the pattern on it was much too big in scale for the things I was … Continue reading

In the papers!!

I am so chuffed to have been included in pieces by Rosemary McLeod for the Sunday Star Times and Julietta Jameson for the Sydney Morning Herald.  If you  haven’t read them yet, here are the links: Sunday Star Times  The Star Times list of shops to visit is not on line, unfortunately, and I have … Continue reading

Mungo and Wee Jaikie

I have such a list of things to write about after a couple of months of not blogging!  But Mungo and Wee Jaikie have leap-frogged to the top. As you can see, Mungo is an absolutely splendid bear, large, solid and very clutchable. He was made by a local bear maker, in beautiful soft biscuit-coloured … Continue reading

PS Fuchsias

Here it is in black and white, a new fuchsia piece!  The skirt of the fuchsias is embroidered nylon lace, with the top in single satin ribbon—just what the velvet bag needed!  This kind of adding and embellishing is what I intended to work on, when I started the fuchsia making at the end of last … Continue reading

Vintage Roundup March 9–10

What a great way to gear up (sorry, terrible pun!) to Fashion Week!  There will be more stallholders than just those named on the poster.  http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2013/the-vintage-roundup/dunedin/otago  gives a fuller list. Atelier Jeux d’esprit will be there on Sunday March 10 . The  shop will be open as usual on Saturday, March 9, 11:00–4pm—just a hop, step … Continue reading

Art Deco tartan: rug from Jenners

I saw the colours first, then the label, then the Royal Warrant that gives an approximate date!  The colours in the photo are pretty true, if a bit pale:  that lovely 1930s green, with slashes of brilliant orange, toned down by the gentle mid-blue and the soft yellow.  It’s a fabulous example of what tartan … Continue reading

Fuchsia whimsy

I have loved fuchsias ever since I discovered their whimsicality in my Nana’s wonderful North Taranaki garden.  Nothing like them grew in any of the gardens I had known until then.  They danced, they twirled, they flirted their bright, fluffy skirts, and I, I was in heaven!   Cicely Mary Barker  expressed these feelings for me … Continue reading

Thieves’ Alley 2013

The 2013 Thieves’ Alley Market is on next Saturday, from 10 am til 4 pm.  The Thieves’ Alley part is really Bath Street, where the (foot)traffic is often at a standstill, but the stalls are always fascinating. The rest of the market is in the Octagon, and the first blocks of Princes, Lower Stuart and … Continue reading

Photos that I remember!! Girl New Book of World Ballet.

I have carried the memory of these photos for over 40 years, from when I was a little girl at a country primary school in Southland.  They began my love of ballet, with their simplicity and directness.   I had no idea what ballet would be like on stage, and I certainly had no inkling of … Continue reading