Clémentine Brandibas : the thread of nature.

The thread of nature.

Clémentine Brandibas is an embroiderer-artist. In her workshop in Saint-Jean d’Illac, near Bordeaux, her expert fingers create pieces of extraordinary complexity. Nonetheless, the landscapes she re-imagines suggest an impressive sobriety, and poetry. Her work takes us successively into the mountains, the ocean, space… We discover an untamed nature, perpetually in movement, all the while contained in her small silk canvas…

Date: 29 March 2019
City: Saint-Jean d'Illac
Artisan: Clémentine Brandibas
How did you become an embroiderer ?

Clémentine

I always enjoyed using my hands creatively. As a child, I drew and painted a lot. As a teen, I discovered Haute-Couture and became passionate about it. I was very much drawn to the preciousness and the high-end aspect of it. At the time, I desired to be a stylist. For that reason, I studied applied arts in high school. Later, while I was visiting the Duperré School (a school for applied arts), I found out about embroidery and instantly fell for it. I discovered the endless possibilities of such a discipline — the range of techniques and materials allows for an infinitude of detailed and textured creations. I very much enjoyed that aspect, as well as the fact that I could valorize matter.

Opportunities in the realm of embroidery are quite rare. How did you generate your opportunities?

Clémentine

At the end of my studies at the Duperré School, I could have remained in Paris, working in Haute-Couture workshops; however, that was not in alignment with my desire to create. I left the capital and moved to Bordeaux, where I found a job in a haberdashery.

Simultaneously, I began embroidering pieces, wherever my fancy took me, with the only purpose of expressing my creativity. I often posted my work on Instagram and it is through that social platform that a Haute-Couture designer contacted me to collaborate with her. After that, several projects were realized. Amongst others, I was one of the laureates of the Prix de la Jeune Création Métiers d’Art in 2018 (a prize dedicated to young craftsmen).

What was the impact of that prize on your work ?

Clémentine

Firstly, it gave me great visibility. Secondly, it allowed me to participate in prestigious events with significative benefits: a sale was organized at Sotheby’s; I will have a corner at the luxury crafts salon Révélations; I was also offered to exhibit some pieces at Drouot – a famous auction room… These are excellent references that add value to my work. It is also through these events that I get to meet interesting people, and that generally leads to co-creations on new projects…

Embroidery is a laborious endeavor. How do you go about engaging such a time-intensive activity?

Clémentine

I do not think about it very much. When I work, I lose track of time. What is more important is my perseverance. It is very gratifying to see a piece – sometimes after hundreds of hours! – evolving and getting closer to the desired result.

Are you inspired by other artists ?

Clémentine

I am particularly fond of the ceramists Kaori Kurihara and Juz Kitson. I also admire the textile artist Simone Pheulpin, who makes impressive sculptures!

“It’s very simple: I wish to convey the emotion one can feel when faced with nature.”

Why do they inspire you ?

Clémentine

Beyond the fact that I find their work very beautiful, I am inspired by their way of working, and by how they explore vegetal themes. They manage to materialize the essence of nature, without rendering it illustrative, nor exclusively decorative — their creations have a soul. The abstraction of their organic pieces is beautiful because it restores the generosity and simplicity of natural elements.

The theme of nature is also very present in your creations. Can you tell us about your visual world ?

Clémentine

It’s very simple: I wish to convey the emotion one can feel when faced with nature. I am very much inspired by the celestial, the infinite, and by the microcosm.

I fancy the idea of one losing one’s self in a painting, in its details, as well as in its globality. It is also for that reason that I enjoy embroidery so much. One can look at a piece and see a landscape for instance. Then, as one draws nearer, close up one can fully appreciate the complexity of the composition.

My embroideries are clearly evocative of natural elements such as water, stone, mountains… still, simultaneously they remain rather abstract, leaving an openness to the eye and to interpretation. I waver between abstraction and representation. Between macrocosm and microcosm.

Where will we be able to see your work in the future ?

Clémentine

At the Révélations salon in May, at the Grand Palais. It is a renowned event in an impressive place! I desire to change the scale of my work for that occasion and showcase a bigger piece than usual.

Did you enjoy discovering this craftsman ?

Contact her !
· Credits · Text : Aurélia Monge  – Editor : Luna Granados – Photos : Clémentine Brandibas et Gilles Leimdorfer.
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