Pauline Esparon, exploring materials and their raw form.
I’m Pauline Esparon and I'm before all an explorer.
I am very much driven by materials. In their primary state. My work is almost to rewind back the materials to their rawest state, where standardisation might have influenced the perception we have of it. I try to discover their initial tactilities, aspects, feel… I have a very empirical approach and I experiment a lot, I use my hands and my sensibility and I don’t make drawings of objects. Intuition is a very precious tool to work with.
I also try to pay attention to the context of production and always question the resources, the craft, the industries behind an object. I try to stimulate local networks, give perspectives to disappearing crafts, give attention to the history and the culture behind things.
I am very moved by the way materials that surround us directly can be expressive. This roughness and this uniqueness are both qualities that can’t be found in materials that aren’t alive. I’ve also always played as a child with things that were around me, and got quickly unshy towards nature, making it more a playground than a landscape.
I am very moved by the way materials that surround us directly were used to make objects, tools, artefacts, in a very practical approach. This sense of appropriation is very beautiful and humble to me. I also love to be surrounded by things that I like, I am very materialist in this sense and very much attached to the senses. Objects for me are really at this bridge between the contexts and the senses.
It was really echoing my approach to take the material as a starting point. Both these places are attached to a hands-on, exploratory approach.
I try to understand it. To see how it comes up to the world and what is the history and context of this resource. Next to that, I play a lot with it in a very hands-on approach.
L’Ecoucheur project, around the linen fiber, is a project that is essential in my practice and it is the one I’m known for. I discovered the linen during a simple walk in my hometown when I grabbed some flax that was laying next to the fields. First, I started to twist it and discovered that the linen was this long, supple, beautiful material and it tricked my curiosity. So I made some research and discovered that 80% of flax was coming from my native region and that most of it, once extracted, was sent to the other side of the world to be manufactured and imported back.
I decided to use directly the raw material to show unknown qualities of it : the linen is very standardized but it can be wooly, fluffy, shiny, colorful… It’s absolutely infinite as a source of joy and possibility. The idea was also to stimulate a local network, exclusively in Normandy and to create an alternative of production.
It was a great experience to explore together with the students the potential of the material. And It’s always by exchanging and discussing that things come up. It’s also a good material at this cross between an industrial product and a surprising physicality. They made great projects that started out of experimentation and came to high-hand prototypes.
I have just launched a new collection in parchment and some new pieces in linen, which is a core material in my practice and I am also working on the space of my studio, which is in a former paper factory in Normandy. There has been a lot of building work, and it is the first time I am considering space and interior as a field of work. It’s very exciting.
Published on 19 September 2022