Lauren Collin - La Main Française - Guide de l'artisan contemporain

Lauren Collin : the Art of the paper cut.

The Art of the paper cut.

Lauren Collin opened her house to us, in the 11th district of Paris, a place she also uses as her workshop. In full resonance with her former life as an interior designer, her apartment is beautifully appointed, adorned in alignment with the full exquisiteness of her refined aesthetic. Today, this creatrix dedicates herself to fabricating impressively poetic paper works of art. Her detail-oriented creations  inspire awe and invite the beholder into a space of meditative contemplation. See for yourselves…

Date: 1 March 2019
City: Paris
Artisan: Lauren Collin
Can you explain to us the technique you developed to cut your papers?

Lauren

I employ surgical knives of varying sizes, in order to ensure the utmost precision, with each cut.  I slice through the thickness of the paper with these tools, in order to reveal thin petal-like layers, repeating the same movement over and over, until the paper is transformed into a mesmerizing topography of texture and dimensionality that unfurls across the surface of the material. The audience often remarks that these textures evoke plumage and scales, bark and petals — the skins of living, breathing beings — the plants and creatures we get to share this planet with.  

What prompted you to develop this technique?

Lauren

My love for paper! Paper for what it is – its texture, its grain, its tone. Moreover, I found the idea of crafting three-dimensional artwork crafted exclusively with paper super fascinating. . At first, I used the technique  to create architectural mock-ups. I had fun lacerating and manipulating the paper in order to represent the various elements of an architectural plan. Over time, my process became more artistic — I could use the knife as a pencil, slicing through thestructure and the density of the paper. In doing so, I realized I could visually, wordlessly express poetry, especially through lighting and shadow effects elicited by each mindfully appointed incision.

Why are you so enamored by this material?

Lauren

I think it was an instant crush — there was an obviousness to my affinity for it.  Paper has always been a part of my life. First, during my childhood, and later during my artistic studies — it was always in my hands. What seduces me about paper is its dynamism — its shape, the density of the material, the amount of cotton it is made with, etc, all of the variables in the paper influences how the material will respond to my technique. it. When working with a fluffy sheet, the outcome will be less precise, for instance. If the grain is thicker, there will be a shading effect…

You first worked as an interior architect at Gilles Boissier’s agency, a renowned french studio. How did the transition between architecture and craftsmanship unfold?

Lauren

When I started at the agency, I had already started developing my artistic work. I had discovered my father’s knives – he is a stomatologist – and I was experimenting with his tools. I realized they allowed me a great fluidity of movement, and I developed that technique… I often showed my creations at work. My colleagues and employers were moved and excited by them. As a result,  I accepted an opportunity they offered me to showcase my work at an eventd, and there, I was approached by an Art gallery: the Dutko Gallery. They ordered a few pieces and organized a solo exhibition. Gradually, this new activity took on a lot of space in my life, so much so that I decided to dedicate myself to it entirely. I would say the transition was pretty natural and spontaneous…

“It is a bit like intuitive writting : it comes out regularly, whether it is in my drawings, in 3D, in architecture, even in my travel sketches!”

How would you define your style?

Lauren

Some elements of my work are constant: simplicity, seashells, nature, organic components. Back in school, we were prompted to conceive an 80-storytower. I imagined a building with huge blades that would move in alignment with the sun. These blades looked very much like petals — visually, this mockup was the architectural representation of my current creations. The petal pattern is an ever-present fixture of my works, past and present.. It is a bit like intuitive writing: it comes out regularly, whether it is in my drawings, in 3D, in architecture, even in my travel sketches!

Can you tell us about your creative process?

Lauren

It always starts with a piece of paper! I first choose the type of material I desire: more or less textured, more or less flawed, tinted or not… This first step gives me ideas about the way I will treat the paper. Sometimes, I draw sketches. Most times, I like the composition to come to me spontaneously. What interests me is observing how a piece will evolve, in the moment.

What do you wish to convey through your work?

Lauren

Each piece is untitled because my desire is to offer the observers enough space to interpret it as they feel to. Titling a piece frames one’s perceptions and limits theimagination. I like the idea of transmitting emotions through abstract creations. Moreover, I wish to reveal the complexity inherent to white, its esthetic and symbolic duality, in order to sublime it.

How would you like to evolve in the future?

Lauren

I love the notion of fabricatingmy own paper! This would allow a full circle process — I would begin by creating papers that would more fully expand and transpose the expression of my ideas. Then, perhaps, I would  create some in greater volume, for a more sculptural result… The story behind each piece could only be more interesting…

Did you enjoy discovering this craftsman?

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· Credits · Texte : Aurélia Monge – EditOR : Audrey Billard – Photography : Diana Gran, Loren Collin.
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