Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Laurence Pocztar: Meeting the wool fairy behind lainezinzin

Here I am outdoors of the tabac in front of the Palaiseau RER station. This is Laurence Pocztar's train stop. Palaiseau is just outside Paris, about 20 short stops from the Etoile. I'm bringing a bag of fiber-related goodies and I put a skein of handspun on the table so she doesn't miss me.

In front of me are some of the people in the neighborhood, having beer and saying "hello" to each other.

From the tabac, you look up and see the train station building.

Finally, Laurence picks me up in her little yellow SUV and, at home, I meet her 18-year-old son, Adrien, and her 12-year-old daughter, Garance (seen here taking our photo). She is unpretentious and unaffected. Genuinely warm at first meeting, although we had hardly said much in emails, other than to agree on the time and the date.

We have tea in her living room and then we go to her garage-turned-studio filled with bags of fleece and all the accoutrements of a fiber artist: spinning wheel, weaving loom, knitting machine, washing machine, pressure cooker, dye powders from France, as well as from Madagascar (her father worked for the UNESCO in Paris as my dad did in the '80s).

We are to have pizza, but we chat and chat in her studio. Laurence spins on my Little Gem which I carried onboard the plane from the US to East Africa and back to Europe. Before we know it, the sun is coming down, it's getting close to 10 pm and I'm horrified to miss the train. Poor Adrien and Garance, it must have been an eternity waiting for the pizza that had yet to be ordered.

Laurence walks me to the train station. It is 30 minutes before the train is to arrive and she is so sweet to sit and wait with me. We talk about public education (she teaches plastic arts) and the growing racial tension in America and in France. The train comes and we hug and she says, "Desormais, nous sommes amies." (From now on, we are friends.)

I ride back to Champs Elyees, close to my hotel and I stop at the breadshop chain, Paul, to pick up a wedge of quiche lorraine and strawberry tart. Then I go back to my hotel, Claridge Bellman, and take this photo on the prepared bed for the benefit of my spinning friends who are great lainezinzin fans.

POSTSCRIPT: I wake up the following morning and see my loot courtesy of Laurence. It puts a smile on my face and then the smile disappears. SHIT! I forgot to take pictures of the wool fairy in her studio.