Oh, sure, Paris is good for a lot of things: art, food, history, culture, and style. In the Marais district of galleries, ateliers, boutiques, and studios, there are plenty of nooks filled with treasure for book and journal artists, tucked close together on or near the rue du Pont Louis Philippe, sometimes called the “rue du Papier”.
The cornerstone of this little piece of paper heaven is Calligrane. Its name blends the words”calligraphie” and ” filigrane” (French for watermark) and it describes this small gallery perfectly. For over 40 years, this family-run business has expanded the field of creative stationery and paper artistry, both in the creation of paper itself and in its innovative use, drawing on materials and inspiration from India, Mexico, Thailand, Germany, Japan, Italy, Nepal, Bhutan, and a host of other far-flung places. Run by second-generation paper maven Vanessa Barth and her husband, paper sculpture artist Maru, Calligrane prides itself on its quest for the new and its commitment to the classic, as well as to being a creative laboratory for paper artists.
Here is a small sample of their fibre papers. (Click on photo to enlarge and see detail.)
They also carry papers made of fruit and vegetables that knocked my socks off.
Then there is the array of the handbound books and journals.
In Calligrane, there is something enchanted that makes it seems that what is beyond the door doesn’t exist in a precise way until it is observed by each individual. While the shelves, the lighting, the materials are the same for all, it most certainly will speak differently to everyone who loves paper and its handmade world.
Calligrane is open Tuesday to Saturday at 6 rue du pont Louis Philippe, 75004 Paris, or you can shop online here.
To see more of Maru’s paper art, follow here.