I first started experimenting with embroidering on paper. My first attempts were limited to embroidering frames around pen and ink drawing but I quickly progressed to embroidering images and then integrating digital collage.
From a technical standpoint, embroidery on paper and reverse appliqué are irreversible techniques that can neither be changed nor corrected. You have to go with the flow. I like that challenge.
I have accumulated a large collection of vintage embroidery threads and vintage linens that I incorporate in my work. But I also like to use non-traditional material: twine, sisal, lint, plastic packaging and bits of iron.
Care and attention
In embroidery, the back of a project is as important as the front. Every stitch counts, especially on vintage linens where the original threads are wearing out. The work must be patient, respectful of the past. But it can be playful as well. I like to make up characters based on quick sketches I make at cafes and even business meetings.
Learning the craft
I learned to embroider in Madame Lefevre's second grade class.
Madame played recordings of classical music while we worked on our samplers. This is my very first work. Notice the triple embroidered border and the progressive difficulty of the alphabet, from the simple "I" to the curvy "8".
I was the first one to finish my sampler so I got to work on a second project: a green and orange rooster that is somewhere among my possessions. I already knew I was going to be an artist.
Finding a voice
I kept embroidering well into the 80's and 90's when the craft wasn't particularly popular. But there was this French magazine called "100 idees" where I found articles about Jean-Paul Gaultier and young designers from the Royal School of Arts. I made my own clothes and spent a lot of time experimenting with material.
I was very lucky of having the support of my grandmother who introduced me to a range of techniques and forgave me for my many transgressions with fabric and thread.
I came to the US with my one suitcase and a few hundred dollars from a summer job. I worked hard.
I kept a day-job, took art classes and sketched every day, on the plane, in bed, in the margin of business memos, at lunch, at night, at breakfast. I studied movies, frame by frame, to understand composition. I bought paper in bulk, I wore pencils down to the nib.
I switched language and relearned to write, from my native French to English.
I am determined, patient and a bit contrarian, three qualities that have served me well.
We each contribute in our own way.
I am a quiet individual who is perfectly happy alone in the studio. But I do care a great deal for others, for our planet, our well being.
I love creating artwork that tells a good story. It's my way of witnessing and celebrating the world we live in.
My aspiration is to surprise and delight.