What is home for you?
It is really different. My home in France is in Nancy, which is full of art nouveau style. I grew up with this architecture which is super nice. But I also grew up in the mountains, where there are there are many type of remains celtics are the closest cause just above my grandparents home. But it’s full of middle ages castel and of course WW1 and WW2 remains.. I also studied textile design in Lille, so I kind of experienced Belgian culture before. After that I moved to Brussels, and then to Antwerp, which is completely different from my home. Which is crazy that there is such a difference over only a four hour drive. *laugs* I did not know that a“flat” country could be that flat, as a child.
I saw that you found a gemstone in Antwerp. How do you go on your treasure hunting for stones?
There is a lot that I am trying to discover in Antwerp. In Antwerp there are a lot of perfection stones. They are very good cut and very clear. For my project I was looking for stones which have spots, shades, inclusions, where you can see different types of stones. I had this kind of hunt in Antwerp but also in the world. I ordered in Asia, the Netherlands, France,… And further, I know some gemstone dealers in France. They are really kind, they help me a lot. Along different ways I find my stones.
And is this for your new project?
For the moment I am busy with collaborations, exhibitions and the main project will be the creation of my own company.
Do you always work with stones?
For now I work mostly with stones, sometimes mother of pearls for example. But I mainly work with metal, actually. That is something that is quite constant. We sometimes need to explain to the teacher why we want to work with metal. Not only to teachers but to many other persons in general. I am using a special machine, a solder machine, so I have a really good reason to work with it. It is like micro soldering. Contemporary jewelry is nowadays with no limit of materials, so using the classical ones for jewelry need to have a reason, to be a choice. My reason is that I love it because it offers so many possibilities. By restricting myself a bit with this choice. of using metal, I feel also really free from the shapes, the colors. It’s just a fantastic material to work with for me
And specifically what you are showing at Cathérine, is it your master project, or is it something new?
My master project is mainly in Brussels at the moment. Partly it is sold already. I have two pieces left that are really close in shape. These are golden pieces, they are the beginning of the work with this machine. And otherwise I have rings I make with a wax technique. I love working with wax.
What can we tell about the pieces that you are going to show?
It is a lot of wire work. Actually, in between structural work and natural shapes. Really organic and structural shapes, between architecture and nature. I think it is really linked with home: with my city art nouveau, art deco, you have the squared shapes of the houses and even the pipes of the houses are covered with plant shapes.I always have in my mind this idea in philosophy ” to be human is to be against nature” in the sense that we are learning to be humans. I just unify the two. Cultural shapes with natural ones.
How do you want people to feel when they are wearing your jewelry?
I want them to feel better. We had this question quite often. And a lot of people care about the fact that they really want that the person who wears the jewel knows the story. But you can also have a jewelry piece out of inheritage for example and the story you don’t know. I like it when people know the story, but also when they can build their own story around it.
How does your creative process start?
Drawings mostly. When it is a wax technique, there are no drawings needed always. And otherwise, for all the big projects I like to start with the drawing.
Do you link your creative process with textile background?
I still love to look at pattern designs, tapestries, the floors, it is really nice to look at the shapes. It is the same as what I do with the jewels. There is a mathematical structure in the pattern. It is also a bit like a game. Sometimes I like it to make it more complex. Sometimes I have pages of mathematics on my bench. It is not complicated mathematics except for a few things. Most of them are these geometry rules we learned.
If it happens that you use stones, silver or gold, do you trace where they come from?
For stone it is a bit harder. There is a dealer I just met who really pays attention to where they come from. For this I am really happy.
The gold that I have now, I bought from companies and it is recycled. I do not even have a choice. It may be weird to see on the etiket that it is recycled. But it is mostly for every jeweler on earth. For metal it is a different story. For jewelry the metal is not from the line, so it is a lot of metal recycled. So the gold from the mine is just for the bank, for example. In my third year, we had a project with gold. I made a signature ring, they are classically full of gold and really heavy. So I made the ring with the minimum amount of gold. There is a bit of pollution in the gold when you recycle, but that is okay compared to gold panning, that is almost always the case.
Do you have any advice for students who do their first year in jewelry?
We took a certain time to fight for our ideas. For the first year, you need to push your idea a lot. Don’t be afraid, in the beginning it is hard but it is a good thing to fight your own expression.