event: hermes festival of crafts
location: hermes store, chicago
comments: where to begin this story. a friend of mine called me last week and in a very excited, out of breath kind of way, she proceeded to tell me about this amazing experience she had at the hermes store. i've never been inside an hermes store, nor have i honestly thought about making a purchase there. it's something that has always been outside of my frugal world. anyway, she went on to tell me about this event they were hosting where they had their craftsmen from france come to the store to demonstrate their art and to explain their process and the materials they use. well, she had me hooked. with every detail she relayed to me, i got more and more intrigued. she was right, the event was amazing and inspirational. each artisan i spoke with told the story of their craft while they were actually making an item in the store. they talked of where they learned it, how long they have been honing their craft (none less than 10 years) how it is done, how the materials are found etc. each part of their story also told of the incredibly high standards that they adhere to and the patience in their work. most of what they sell is hand made. along the way if any part of the process is below standards, the item is then destroyed. it does not get sold by hermes unless it meets all quality standards. they make their products to last and they will not accept anything that will compromise that. the images above are mostly of their scarves. the blue image is of a screen for printing a scarf. the last image is of fabric printed with materials to make 2 ties. it's incredible the work they put into the artwork. the colors are hand separated onto acetate so that each color can be made into a screen for printing. this process can take 12 months to complete depending on the complexity of the artwork. the scarves are made up of multiple colors. the maximum is 45 colors to give you an idea of the complexity. the ties are sewn by hand with single thread and no knots. no knots at all. i can't explain what a thrill it was to watch the artisan sew a tie by hand. her stitches were exquisite. the woman who hand stitches the men's shirts was also working with single thread, no knots and mostly concealed stitches. breathtaking detail. we also witnessed the artisan who makes their purses. again, hand stitched. there was also a watch maker, saddle maker and a jeweler. i left their having an incredible appreciation for what they make and a desire to save up the money to buy something from them in the future. their passion, incredibly high quality standards, exquisite materials and love of craft made an impression on me that won't go away any time soon.