When I started this blog I said I would showcase my work but I also said I would share with you the work of artists and designers I love and who inspire me. Claude (1925-) and Francois-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008) are two of my favorite French designers.
(photo of Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne - photo by Pierre Boulat / Cosmos - they are posing on their own creations)
I discovered them a long time ago through my mother who loves their work too. My first experience with seeing their work in person was quite amazing as it was at the Jardins de Bagatelle in Paris for an outdoors exhibition. Claude and Francois-Xavier started their work collaboration in 1956, all the while continuing to make their own pieces on the side too. Their first show took place at Jeanine Restany's Gallery (J galerie) in France in 1964. The Lalanne believe that sculpture, and art in general, can be functional. Their career has been dedicated to give back a familiar dimension to sculpture as well as a functionality. You can look but also touch, seat, feel, lay down on, use to eat or wear their creations. Nature and the animal kingdom offer endless inspiration to the Lalanne whose work share some similarities while being also very personal and different. One major common trait being that their designs are often very humorous. Since pictures talk better than words though, here are a few, followed by some links.
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Rhinocretaire, 1966
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Cocodoll, 1964
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Moutons Blancs, 1979, bronze and sheep's wool
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Boite de Sardines, 1971
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, La mouche, 1966
Claude Lalanne's work:
Claude Lalanne, "Structures Williamsburg", 1986, bronze armchair (set of 6)
Claude Lalanne, "Choupatte" (tres grande), 2008, copper and bronze, Paul Kasmin Gallery
Claude Lalanne, "Pomme Bouche"
Claude Lalanne, "coverts Iolas", 1966, silver
Claude Lalanne, "Homme a tete de chou", 1970, 2005 edition, bronze and galvanized copper
Claude Lalanne, "Collier soleil", around 1970
A few links to discover their work: - Paul Kasmin Gallery in NY: http://www.paulkasmingallery.com/artists/les-lalanne/ - JGM. Galerie in Paris: http://www.jgmgalerie.com/ - Article in the NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/02/style/tmagazine/t_d_p38_remix_turnpage_.html - Other article about Francois-Xavier Lalanne (obituary): http://www.wwd.com/eyescoop/french-artist-franois-xavier-lalanne-1881390/ - In French, Musee des Arts Decoratifs website: http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/francais/arts-decoratifs/expositions-23/actuellement-501/dans-la-nef/les-lalanne/presentation-2429
This is my latest feltscape. I call "feltscapes", my framed felt landscapes. They are all hand sewn as well as needle felted. I used a mix of eco-friendly felt, wool blend felt and roving wool. As usual there are some 3D elements like the tall grass, the tree's leaves and the sheep's ears... I mounted it in a frame from which I have removed the glass. This one will be featured at the Boston Bazaar Bizarre.
The Brachiosaurus is done (yep, you read right, a brachiosaurus... I have to be precise because I can't fool my son on dino names)!
I completed Jack's request for a dinosaur last Monday just a few minutes before my husband came back from picking him up from school.... I literally was sewing the last few stitches and making the final knot. So right when Jack got through the door I gave him the dinosaur and I can tell you that seeing the look on his face and hearing him squealing with joy made me forget how much my fingers were hurting :) He inspected it and remarked it had a long neck and a bump on its head, as it should, and told me he loved it while hugging it real hard. He's been playing and sleeping with it since and even brought it to school the other day to show his teacher.
In case I had forgotten, that really reminded me why I do what I do, to make people smile and giggle :) Enough bragging though and let me show what it looks like and the few other "making of" pics I have:
So here he is, all 24 inches long that he is.... and with a friend too!
But, as promised, here are some more making of pictures:
I'm still thinking of making a hat and a tie for him... he could be a dino detective... I have a tendency to want to turn all plush into detectives these days!
The mouth was tough to make and it took quite a bit of stuffing to fill that puppy up. I'm happy with the results and I hope I won't have to make a triceratops next ;)
If you have a challenge for me you can always convo me on Etsy and I'll see what I can do for you!
Well, you need a detectiveof course! You can go exotic with the classic Miami police investigator....
This is bigger version of my usual owl plush. This one is about 12H by 13W", and around 2" thick (depending on how many donuts he had for breakfast!). I'm keeping that plush for the Boston Bazarre Bizarre craft fair that will take place at the Cyclorama on Sunday December 5th. It is made with felt, vintage buttons and a vintage silk tie (I just got a whole bunch of ties from my step-dad back in France this Summer... amazing designer ties but really old fashioned now, like this one, which was nonetheless very fashionable back in the 80's!).
This one is listed in my shop but is being very helpful in my house in the meantime to solve a delicate mystery involving a disappearing binky.... my son is accusing us but we claimed innocence and hired Poirot to prove him wrong ;) He too was made with felt and vintage buttons from France. These are really thick and beautiful... they were hard to part with... just like it was difficult to cut up that silk tie....
He was caught here in an Saint Patrick's day celebratory get up... and after celebrating he forgot all about solving my disappearing socks mystery... I had to prepare him a solid breakfast to help him get back to it!!!
(btw, that used to be one of my family's favorite show and of course we'd watch it in French... I was so shocked the first time I heard is real English voice... I never really got used to it!)
OR.... you could decide to just side with the thieves.....
I just couldn't not share this with you... For those of you who do not know the geniuses designers Campana brothers here is a little teaser on their fabulous work and also what would be my dream couch :)
It comes in many colors and textures and I just think it is amazing! (I know my fellow Plushteamers will be loving it!) They are selling this new collection through Edraand you will probably come across a picture in any of the design magazines out there. They had gotten a lot of attention with their plush animals chairs like the one below and are now collected by designs museums around the world.
This is the Alligator chair and you can find this one as well as others from their newest editions at the famous Moss gallery/shop in New York. It comes at a hefty price ($85,000) but if you have the money and you are a collector I think they definitely belong to the list of must have contemporary designers.
I love their creativity and use of what could seem like odd and ordinary materials for their designs. These materials (wood, fabric, cords...) always have a lot of texture and make, to my opinion, their creations very whimsical, poetic and appealing to our inner child.
Besides his love for owls my son has taken on a new obsession over Summer... He has become a dinosaur expert and our house is now filled with dinosaur books (both in French and English, which makes me work double too!), dvds, figurines and the likes :) He knows all the names of all the dinosaurs in his books and is learning which ones are carnivores and which are herbivores. His latest habit has even been to get back up after we put him to bed at night, come to us and make a statement like "You know mama, velociraptors run really fast!", and then he runs back to bed! All this to say that he managed to convinced me (ok that wasn't too hard!) to make a brachiosaurus for which he chose the colors and specified that it had to be big and have a reaaaaally long neck. Now he asks me everyday where I'm at with it... well, it takes time but I thought I would document the progress on my blog, thus allowing you guys to see how I make my plush animals :)
It already took me a while to cut all the pieces to ornate his back and then sew it all... and then I thought it would really be much better to do this on both sides so.... here we go :)
I'm now done with the other side and I'm thinking about his eyes and facial expression. More pics soon!
This blogging thing is really fun and I see why so many of my friends are doing it. I think it will be interesting to be able to document the making of my work as everything I make id hand sewn. I will try to detail what techniques I use so you can better understand why it takes time and what makes what I do so unique :)
I cannot believe this day has come but here it is.... Hibou is definitely entering the 21st Century :) You will have to be kind and forgiving as I am new to this blog business and it may take a while for me to actually master the format. In the meantime, let me start with a few pictures as I am sure they'll represent me and my work much better than I could do with words :) These are the 3 pieces I made for the Plush You! show in Seattle. Plush You! is "THE" ultimate plush toy/art show and it is hosted and curated by Kristen Rask at her very own fabulous shop called Schmancy. I was very fortunate to fly over there for the opening and I was really blown away by the display of so much talent! I also had the opportunity to meet some of my fellow Plushteam crafters :)
This is Cristal Bazoom, my Vegas Owl Showgirl! I had started to make this plush for our PlushTeam Summer challenge and as the project got more and more complicated and detailed I decided it would be a great piece to submit to the show :) As usual with me, it is all hand sewn (no machine used here or anywhere in my work actually) and made from an original design by me. You can see Cristal below in the Schmancy shop. It is now hanging on the wall as she does have a fabulous throne to show off!
Here are the other piece titled "Let Them Eat Cake!": Marie-Antoinette and Louis the XVIth with a cake. Like Cristal they are all hand sewn and made with felt. I added some vintage ribbons, lace, buttons coming directly from my grandma's closet back in France. It definitely took me a good amount of time to make these but I really had an amazing time doing so!
Having done art history studies I had seen many representations of Marie-Antoinette and her hairdos in these had always amazed me (especially the one with a nautical theme) so I decided get inspired from it.