Artisans of Provence, Designed In Provence, Fashion & Accessories

V8: The Artisans of Provence – Ouvrage

April 20, 2017
ouvrage

I am so excited to introduce the first of this season’s talented Provence Artisans and Designers featured in next season’s (already!) SOLD-OUT curation with you. This season, we deliver V8: The Midsummer Dream Luxe Provence Box.  It’s a Collector’s Edition and really special, featuring handmade unique creations from not one, but two, local talented artisans in each box which is being shipped around the globe this June. Through my village hunts and city street curating adventures, I have had the pleasure to meet and collaborate with two fabulous and talented artisans this season. I will start by introducing the Aixoise weaver/architect behind this season’s much anticipated hero item, Agnès Krier.

agnes-krier-ouvrage

In the winding streets of Aix-en-Provence, my local “ville” if you will, I discovered the relatively new concept boutique, Ouvrage. My goal that moment was to finalize the “it piece” for this summer’s Luxe Provence Box. I already had something special in mind to commemorate the season… it was a modern, luxury interpretation of the iconic panier sacs found throughout Provence. panier-provence

A “Provence panier” is a naturally woven “osier” shopping basket usually topped with leather handles used religiously throughout Provence’s quaint market and streets to carry everything from your French produce and fresh flowers, to beach foutas and Rosé-infused picnics.ouvrage-concept-store-aixenprovence-shopping-guide

I had heard about this lovely new concept boutique, Ouvrage, founded by two local architects and stopped by to take a look. Instant love… first for the boutique, which is a lovely minimal gallery-style concept store featuring a highly curated collection of beautifully designed and handcrafted items, art, jewelry, soaps and more. colorsnettle-sustainable-fabric-panier-bags-provence

Little did I know that Agnès, the co-founder was also weaving some beautiful works of art herself. And excitingly, was incorporating sustainable materials with linen that were both innovative and traditional at the same time to create a modern, beautifully textured line of sacs.  Her work incorporates nettles, which is perfectly safe to wear (don’t worry no stinging or irritation here..), and in fact, is a highly luxurious, durable and sustainable textile. The fabric is made from the fibers within the stalks of the plant, not the silky barbs on the outer surface. (Learn more about this sustainable and stylish textile here…)

I knew this was the unique piece I was looking for that my clients would adore and represented that effortless chic, Luxe Provence lifestyle. Learn more about the first featured Artisan profiled this season behind our V8 Midsummer Dream curation (in French and English):

En: When did you first start to practice as both an artisan and architect?

I graduated from the Marseille School of Architecture in 1999 after spending one year at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada. My husband Sébastien and I,  opened our architecture firm in Aix en Provence in 2005. We work a lot with individuals and often with the brand Eric Bompard cashmere for whom we have designed several boutiques throughout the years.

I discovered weaving about two years ago through the work of artists like Sheila Hicks, Kei Sekimachi, Anni Albers and many others.

I am self-taught and work today on a small loom and only with natural materials.

En: What was your inspiration behind this line of sacs and your boutique?

My inspiration for my work is often Japan, a country that I especially adore. My boutique (Ouvrage) is designed to highlight each individual object and creator.

In the creation of my textile pieces, I enjoy to reinterpret the Japanese technique “Wabi Sabi” and handcrafted artisanal pieces where natural materials are represented.

The inspiration for my nettle cabas (featured in our current V8 curation in their store now) were inspired by the traditional Provence shopping baskets.

For the handle, I was inspired by the traditional Provence baskets with a wicker handle that can be worn by hand or in the hollow of the elbow. Mine is wooden and asymmetrical, it plays with balance and gives a certain dynamic to the bag.

The weaving work uses natural materials soft linen and surprisingly hardy nettle, which is a sustainable material.

En: What is your favorite aspect of your work?

The preferred aspect of my work as a craftsman is the creation, choice of materials, colors, and weaving activity. I always enjoy the creation aspect of any kind of object. One of the moments that I appreciate most happens during the weaving process at the moment I finally see it as a whole piece.

En: What is your favorite part of your day?

The morning when I arrive at the workshop is my favorite moment of the day. It is well before the opening of the boutique and the city begins to come alive. I have a coffee with Sébastien and we list out what we have to do that day. Each new day delivers us these simple joys of meeting new people and beginning new projects.

En: What is your favorite part of living in Provence?

I was born in Provence, I left for a part of my studies, and what I prefer most is its light (the same one that fascinates painters over generations), the art of living, the markets where one finds fresh vegetables each day. But what I like above all is to leave with Sébastien on our scooter and within 10 minutes to be in the massif of the Sainte Victoire to walk, to breathe in nature and sometimes even to take our lunch break. The true Provencal luxury!

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Fr: Quand commencez-vous à pratiquer en tant qu’artisan et architecte ?

J’ai été diplômée de l’école d’architecture de Marseille en 1999 après avoir passé 1 an à l’université Laval de Québec au Canada.

Avec mon mari Sébastien nous avons ouvert notre atelier d’architecture à Aix en Provence en 2005. Nous travaillons beaucoup avec les particuliers et aussi avec la marque Eric Bompard cachemire pour qui nous avons réalisé de nombreuses de boutiques.

J’ai découvert le tissage il y a environ 2 ans avec le travail d’ artistes comme Sheila Hicks, Kei Sekimachi, Anni Albers et bien d’autre.

Je suis autodidacte et travaille aujourd’hui sur un petit métier à tisser et uniquement avec des matières naturelles.

Fr: Quelle est votre inspiration pour le lien de sac et aussi le boutique ? 

Mon inspiration dans mon travail est souvent le japon qui est un pays que nous aimons particulièrement.

La boutique est épurée pour mettre en valeur chaque objet et créateur.

Dans la création textile j’aime retrouver le concept japonais “wabi sabi” où la main de l’artisan et la matière sont représentées.

Pour la anse de mes cabas en ortie je me suis inspiré des paniers traditionnels avec une anse en osier qui peut se porter à la main ou dans le creux du coude. La mienne est en bois et dissymétrique, elle joue de l’équilibre et donne une certaine dynamique au cabas.

Le travail du tissage utilise des matières naturelles le lin doux et l’ortie plus rustique.

Fr: Quel est votre aspect préféré de votre travail ?

L’aspect préféré de mon travail d’artisan est la création, le choix des matières, des couleurs, le point de tissage.

J’ai toujours aimé créer toute sorte d’objet.

Un des moments que j’apprécie dans le tissage c’est quand je défait le tissage du métier et que je le vois enfin dans son ensemble.

Fr: Quelle est votre partie préférée de votre journée ?

Le matin quand j’arrive à l’atelier est mon moment préféré de la journée. C’est bien avant l’ouverture de la boutique et la ville commence à s’activer.

Je prends un café avec Sébastien et on liste ce que nous avons à faire dans la journée.

Une nouvelle journée commence avec tout ce qu’elle nous apporte de rencontres, projets et petits bonheurs…

Fr: Quelle est votre part préférée de vivre en Provence ?

Je suis née en Provence, je ne suis partie que pour faire une partie de mes études, et ce que je préfère c’est la lumière (celle qui fascine les peintres ), l’art de vivre, les marchés où l’on trouve des légumes frais tous les jours.

Mais ce que j’aime par dessus tout c’est  partir avec Sébastien an scooter et être en 10 minutes dans le massif de la Sainte Victoire pour marcher, respirer la nature et parfois même faire notre pause déjeuner. Le vrai luxe provençal!

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We are very pleased that Agnes is creating a special “sur mesure” line exclusively designed for our Luxe Provence Box clients, as well as, a limited series coming to the boutique this July! For those in and around Aix, be sure to pop into their boutique store and discover for yourself. And please let Agnes and Sebastien know we sent you.

Ouvrage
46, rue du Puits Neuf
Aix-en-Provence, France 13100

 

By Tarik Koivisto, Author, Designer/Curator and Photographer

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