About the Author

author photo

The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

See All Posts by This Author

French Country Travel Life Transplant

The  French Country Travel Life Transplant   is a weaver from SouthWestern France.  Jan de Luz fell in love with California’s Napa Valley. Because,  logically enough,  it reminded him of the French Wine Country. DA BG can relate on both counts!

So, I thought it time to “turn the tables” as it were (and is) with a tale of a Frenchman who found his “bonheur” in the USA.

Now working his woven wonders from the picturesque hamlet of St. Helena, Jan is wowing the locals with his basque weaving artistry.

Rebecca Yerger has the details:

havng sold all 11 of his European shops before moving to California, Jan de Luz needed an outlet for his creativity and passion for fine fabrics and design. So he opened a shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea as well as a 40,000 square-foot design studio and retail store in Carmel Valley.

The St. Helena store followed.

All three of these businesses reflect his career in textile and fashion design. “It all started 35 years ago when I began weaving fabric.” de Luz said, “I would weave the color into the fabric instead of just printing it on. This makes it more resistant to fading and lasts longer.

“I used miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of colorful fibers when I wove fabric.” This method of weaving is a Basque technique.

Another Basque weaving technique embraced by de Luz is known as leiho. This method creates fabric with wide colorful stripe woven into the textile amidst fields of white damask. These colorful linens are available at the St. Helena boutique.

So impressed and appreciative of Basque artistry, de Luz established a museum honoring the weaving, history and crafts of the Basque culture.

While pursuing these endeavors, de Luz refined his own personal and professional design aesthetics and sensibilities. These philosophies and principles are the subject of his book, “The French Touch,” published by Gibbs-Smith.

These philosophies and principles are evident in the merchandise available at the St. Helena Jan de Luz shop. Also infused into the fine living merchandise of the St. Helena boutique is the design and lifestyle sensibilities of France.

One of his principles relates to the importance of the details. And so, a great deal of attention is given to every detail throughout the St. Helena boutique and all of its merchandise. For example, sets of table napkins are not merely flat-folded and placed in a container. At Jan de Luz, they are each gently rolled up by hand and tied with a ribbon before being placed in an understated wooden box with a lid.

To add another important detail — the customer’s personal touch —  these napkins as well as most of the de Luz textile merchandise can be customized with embroidered monograms or designs.

This service is done on premise using a large, computer operated embroidery machine. “We started providing this custom service 30 years ago in Europe,” de Luz said. “The machine is capable of producing 100,000 different designs.”

Besides offering a full line of table linens suitable for setting a formal holiday table to a casual everyday table, the St. Helena Jan de Luz shop could outfit the entire home.

“We have items for every room in the home from the dining room to the kitchen to the bathroom and more,” said de Luz. For the kitchen, some of these items are aprons, towels and pepper mills. “The pepper mills are hand-crafted in Greece of various metals,” de Luz said.

For the bathroom, of course, there is a line of luxurious towels. “We also have linen shower curtains. We were the first to offer them,” de Luz added.

For the more personal type of merchandise, the St. Helena boutique offers a bit of self-indulgence in the form of beautiful, yet comfortable, robes or enveloping sumptuous bed linens. To keep all of these linens fresh while stored in drawers and closets, the St. Helena shop has sachet covers adorned with embroidered embellishments.

Another item for the olfactory center is the Jan de Luz jasmine and lavender soaps. Milled in France, these soaps have become popular. “They were featured on Oprah’s ‘Favorite Things’ list,” de Luz said. “Not being from the United States, at first, we did not understand the significance of Oprah and her list.” However, they quickly learned to appreciate that beneficial listing.

The St. Helena boutique is well-stocked with an array of fine living merchandise for the home. This stock continues to expand and change as de Luz strives to find and create new items.

Read more HERE.

THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!

What are ya thinkin’?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
Loading Facebook Comments ...

23 Responses to “French Country Travel Life Transplant”

  1. herb resinder says:

    as onez of your other reader said recently..we never know what to expect from you..except for one thing…..quality!

  2. eric smalley says:

    i’m with ya 100% there herb…….the subjects of DA BG’s posts may vary ( and, as you implied..that’s a GOOD thing!) but the quality is always high.

  3. rena bartsow says:

    interesting for americans to realize that the french dr’eam of hitting it big in the usa!

  4. gerald winston says:

    nice one. france relaizes the american dream!

  5. franny mougins says:

    france dazzles oprah! too cool!

  6. judy simpson says:

    interesting post..all the more so because at first you get the impression this guy is a hands on one man shop type craftsman… then you learn about his machine “capable of produce 100,00 different designs.” oh well!

  7. paula wentworth says:

    hey judy…i got the same hit…..but i guess he started that way..

  8. manny goldstein says:

    hey girls….wake up and smell the coffee!….anyone who has 11 shops to sell…..and can afford a monsterous “outlet” in carmel is not a touchy-feely one man old world crafstman.

  9. burt gordon says:

    you got that right manny! he’s a savvy french businessman ROCKIN IT in the good ole USA! (crisis? – what crisis?)

  10. andy dennison says:

    burt…the crisis is only for us s.o.b.’s who work for someone else!

  11. carla rose says:

    andy…..true….but any one of us “s.o.b.’s has the power to do exactly what jan de luz did……if it’s what we really, absolutely
    want.

  12. betty furman says:

    so right on carla…..and let me add what you implied….if you get off your ass and WORK to make it happen!

  13. wilson steffers says:

    its been my exprience that most of the craftspeople/artists who have “made it big” simply kept turning out exceptional work. which got them – in time, justly rewarded.

  14. hal davis says:

    i totally agree wilson…..a very perceptive, and, dare i say “balanced” comment.

  15. megan zentos says:

    soaps, shower curtains, robes…this guy ins’t just a weaver – he’s a freakin department store!

  16. sonja hansen says:

    as a knitter, i find his integration of color into the weaving a total revelation – tho’ it does seem logical…once you think of it tat is!

  17. merle thomas says:

    i think it’s great that this guy has accomplished all this….and more to the point, that what he produces is USEFUL art!

  18. tina rasmussen says:

    with ya there merle…and, hey people…why are you bashing this guy because he’s a success? don’t we all want to be successful?

  19. zac johnson says:

    right tina…..do i hear a little jealousy there? (from the bashers, i mean)

  20. jane abernathy says:

    really like the idea of you feautering a frenchman who’s dream was realized here….nice twist…and great info..i’m gonna be checking out his stuff!

  21. anson parker-jones says:

    nice change of pace….with a great “french connection.” spot on!

  22. jack aubrey says:

    we were fortunate enough to visit the basque country on our tour of france, and found it to be one of the most rewarding stops. the tradition of weaving there, like mr de luz, is nothing short of amazing. a “must see” for all french travellers!

  23. allen majors-clark says:

    as brit who benefits from the sanity of european wine distribution – i feel for my american cousins and their tangled mess. and i also think that brits trying to sell wine to the french is economic suicide!

Leave a Reply