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The first time I met Josée Mélanie of Fichu Chiffon, I immediately had a crush on her beautiful throws. In a modern style, these are handcrafted using traditional methods.
When discussing with the creative, we feel her great passion for textiles, and her taste for things well done, made to last.
Josée-Mélanie was kind enough to let us into her world and answer some questions for Chic & Basta. I leave you to discover her through this interview!
When was the creation of fichu chiffon ?
In 2012... The first step of the project was to renovate the space of the studio, an ancient barn / chicken coop adjacent to the house that we have completely renovated. The opening of the local took place in late 2012 and the Fichu chiffon line was developed after that and officially launched a year later, in late 2013. A first project in textile design was the precursor of the Cabane atelier adventure.
What job were you doing before that? And what made you change jobs?
My professional profile is in business administration - tourism management. I did a lot of coordination and project management - I still do! My passion for design, textiles and fiber; my love for the blanket as an object is long. In fact I have not changed jobs, but added the design and creation. Having a small business is a good example of project management! A project in continuous change, full of challenges, curves, surprises and wonderful encounters. What a great adventure!
My motivation for being in business is multiple. Being able to work in textile, to work in my studio in an environment that looks perfect for me, being able to put my creative energy and my time on a personal project with a purpose of sharing with others, and self-realization. I absolutely love to manage my time and the whole dynamic of sharing and exchanging with others that gives me this universe.
In a few sentences how you define Fichu Chiffon? And La cabane atelier?
la cabane atelier : la cabane atelier is the physical place, the workshop space where are created the Fichu Chiffon line of products and also the name of my company. This is a place I sometimes share, there are activities, courses or workshops. I lend the space and some equipment too, when the community needs it.
fichu chiffon : is my product line: they are simple and moderne textile designs for the home and the road: quilt-throws, picnic blankets, pillows, weavings.
How would you describe your style?
Modern, quite minimalist, playful and colorful. Inspired by modern and Scandinavian design, and "Modern mid-century."
A happy mix of colors and textures. I love utilitarian objects, but also the poetry of the object. A mixture of traditional and modernism. I try to produce "favourite" objets that touch people, establish an emotional relationship. And also that they are built for life.
A blanket is an object that can have such an emotional connection with people. It is a comfort object, from birth to death. It partners with life moments: heats, soothes, comforts, but also to play, picnic, bring in a cabin, read under a tree or lie in the sun on the beach...
What is it like in your work space?
I work in my shack! An old barn adjacent to my house, a wooden centenary in the heart of the village of Sutton in the Eastern Townships, Quebec. It is a rustic white universe with wood paneling. Modest but friendly. I have a huge inspiration board, filled with pictures, fabric scraps, buttons and things I find beautiful.
The color is found in fabrics and yarn! The space is on 3 levels, each of them not very big, but we find a lot of things because I collect everything: fabric, fiber, buttons ...
I have an immense cutting and working table, sewing and overcast machines, industrial and non-industrial. A loom, books of "craft" and design...
Tell us about your creative process? How do you manage to find inspiration?
I find inspiration in everything!
Visual images - A landscape, texture and feel of fabrics, embroidery, interior design, furniture, places. A tile floor or an architectural photo... My first crush was the quilts of Gee's Bend which I had the privilege of seeing an exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York in 2003. It was and it is always a great source of inspiration and love for blanket as an object.
Often - most of the time - I start a cover assembly with what I have - one or more pieces of cloth. That is the challenge and the fun I seek and find all the time, I do a lot of recycling.
What are your essential working tools??
Besides sewing machines, scissors, wire, camera, computer, iron...
- Music and my boyfriend: they are both sources of energy and motivation every day. Jean is my rock, my counselor, my number one supporter.
What are your criteria for the selection of textiles that you use?
Quality and aesthetics. Color, texture. I have a clear preference for natural fibers such as linen, wool, cotton canvas...
Are there new objects or textures you would like to create, experiment?
I would like to also do more quilting as in traditional quilting and add embroidery elements, I love all hand embroidery even simple and minimalist. My other goal is to have more time for weaving. Rugs and blankets are my favorite weaving items too! I like to mix the fibers and the use of crude and natural yarns like linen.
Since your studio is attached to the house, and you have two children aged 9 and 12 years, it would be interesting if you could also tell me something about the work-family balance.
My children are 9 and 12 years old. One of the benefits of working at home is to welcome the return of children from school and be more present to them. The primary school here ends at 14 h 45! By cons it would be lying to say that I am super productive when the kids are here, I clearly work less then if I had a job outside! Obviously, it is becoming easier and they are very autonomous now that they are older. I also regularly participates in outings or class activities and resume my working hours at other times. It's a lifestyle choice that I do not regret!
Photo credits: © Chic & Basta.
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Florist, horticulturist and now ceramist, Isabelle Simard creates utilitarian objects where the emphasis is on color and shapes. Her strong and spontaneous gesture is a representation of the present moment as did the automatists.
She kindly answred our questions.