(Text by Coline Bavois, upon questions by Claire de Pourtalès)
« I came upon the embroidery world 5 years ago, while I was studying Costume Design. I then learned the basic techniques as well as the Haute-Couture techniques for feathers (Plumasserie) and flowers (Florist) and hat-making (Millinery). I kept learning by myself, trying new stitches and using all sorts of material. I always have a personal project in progress that I can go to during my free time.
I try to find an artistic way to express myself freely through what I love the most: fabric. I like to reproduce the feel of a tree bark, the colours of coral or the frost covering grass. The whole nature is a wonderful source of inspiration. I enjoy using traditional materials like glass beads or embroidery cotton to use them in a surprising and completely different way. I also like to include unusual material like chocolate wrappings or length of film to create organic microcosms. I use both the needle and the Lunéville hook. Once you have mastered this hook, you can create flowers with beads and spangles rather quickly, while working on the wrong side of the fabric. You can also use it to work chain stitch, couching and filling. It is widely used in Haute-Couture.These days, I am learning gold work – where, again, I try to use its techniques in a very special way.
I can’t really draw, so I use samples of the material I want to use and that I have around me. Then I put them together, see what works and what doesn’t. I try several versions. Then I try to draw them as best as I can. This creative process is my favorite step.
I am a costume designer and I work for films or Haute Couture. Embroidery for costumes is not an easy job. For financial reasons, you hardly find embroidered costumes in live performance. It is replaced by tricks like appliqués, braids or even paint, all of which are very effective when seen from afar. You can find some beads, spangles or feather work for cabaret costumes. But for the cinema, especially for historical movies, with the inevitable close-ups, embroiderers are needed. I would really like to work with another artist, who would be using a completely different set of materials than mine (ceramic for example) and see how we could create something new together.
Embroidery has a large place in my life. My mind is constantly agitated by ideas, that I try to express through day-to-day fabrics. I see the world through volumes of threads, stacks of beads that can talk about the fragility of nature and its transient state. Embroidery is also important because it gives me a moment of peace, where the body can relax, breathing is calmer and my heart slows from my concentration on stitching. »