Welcome To Bird of Paradise Designs












:: Billie Barthelemy - About The Artist ::

The Main Studio In Northern Minnesota
The Main Studio In Northern Minnesota
~For my first embroidery project, at the age of five, I chose to embroider the image of a gopher on a dish towel. After some intermediate steps, I am now in my 30th year of making a living and a life by crawling across fabric with a needle and threads of many colors.

~My current work consists of hand-made and hand-embellished cotton and silk garments, meant to be functional as well as beautiful. I design the garments, draft the patterns, cut the pieces, and sew them using hand and machine techniques. Many pieces are one-of-a-kind or limited edition. I also construct basic unadorned garments to complement the embellished works.

~The clothing shapes are simple and clean, often adapted from various ethnic styles. The squares, rectangles, triangles and circles prevalent in these patterns present a clean background for the hand embroidery and other hand techniques I use to complete the works.

The Studio In Winter
The Studio In Winter
~All the embroidery in my work is done entirely by my hand. I hand draw the embroidery design on each garment and embroider it one stitch at a time, by hand, making each piece an individual work of art. Hand embroidery is one of the most portable of arts, making it possible for me to work on the beach, on an airplane or train, in a car, in the driver's license office, the dentist's waiting room, or on the dock at my beautiful Sandy Lake in northern Minnesota.

~Although hand embroidery is my favorite application, I also use pleating, knotting, cording, gauging, piecing, quilting, texturing, and other manipulations of the fabric.

~My inspiration comes from the shapes in the natural world; the change each day from dark to light; arcs, spirals and circles; shadows, motions and the play of light on rock, leaf, water. Some representations are literal, others abstract and shifted.

~I studied Art at Long Beach State College and Napa College, California. I also work in pen and ink, and have illustrated books, posters and cards. Besides my artwork, I have also worked at various times in my life in a photographic studio, and as a public community radio announcer and producer.

The Sandy Lake Studio The Florida Winnebago Studio
The Sandy Lake StudioThe Florida Winnebago Studio

:: Bird of Paradise - About The Work ::

Bird of Paradise separates are designed and made by artist Billie Barthelemy in her northern Minnesota studio. They are distinctive, timeless, versatile pieces that can be used for casual or dress wear. They travel well and are easy to care for.

Hand embroidery and quilting are also available. Many designs and sizes of buttons are available. See Buttons Page for current choices.

All styles are made in XS - XL. (Swing top and jacket made in S, M, L.) Special size orders are also welcome.

Garments are available in a wide selection of colors, some of which change occasionally, see Fabrics Page for current choices. Different dye lots can sometimes show slight variations, making it preferable to order pieces for complete outfits at or near the same time.

Garments are available in 100% silk noil. Other natural fabrics occasionally available. Please contact for more info.

The fabric is pre-shrunk by machine washing it twice in hot water, and drying it twice in a hot dryer before the garments are cut.

Machine wash delicate in cool water or hand wash. Use a mild detergent or shampoo and do not use chlorine bleach. Use Shout Brand “Colorcatchers” in washing machine to wash pieced and reversible garments and to wash different colors together. Tumble dry low heat and always use anti-static dryer sheets. Tumble drying softens the fabric nicely but you may also hang dry. Press as necessary with a steam iron on the lowest steam setting. (Hand washing is recommended for black and navy items when possible, to keep the colors stronger, but they may also safely be machine washed.)

All pieces can be dry cleaned as well.

© Copyright 2008-2018 Bird of Paradise. All rights reserved.

Photos on this site by Bryan James, Sue Hartley, Ryder Gledhill, and Billie Barthelemy.