“Once upon a time a little girl was crying and as her tears fell they turned into precious stones.?”
Welcome to the wonderful world of Lucie Tales, where French jeweller Lucie, weaves wondrous tales through her jewelery creations from found objects. I love how she describes the “highly emotional experience” of discovering these found treasures and how she is drawn to the link between “past and present, between craftsmanship and the story of an era”. I also adore how she disagrees with collecting for the sake of collecting, but to strive to transform and make these old things live and be loved again.
Her pieces are so unique, she majestically transforms the old and “used, tumbled by the sea, painted, rusted, scratched” into contemporary jewellery and yet always retains the beautiful soul of the piece, a “trace from their previous lives”.
When did you start collecting?
“I might say it started as a little girl. I couldn’t return home without something I had picked up along the way to school : a nice pebble, a beautiful leaf or seed. Pebbles were the most cherished treasures and my mother was careful emptying my pockets before putting my clothes in the washing machine.”
“I don’t consider myself as a true collector. When I go to the flea market I don’t look for something special to complete my collections. My purchases are spontaneous and made on the spot, I don’t track down a particular item, I love hasard. And the worth of an object is so subjective! I remember the day I found a box full of new old stock brass eyelets, it was like I struck gold!!! I saw all the possibilities, the variations it would enable me to design.
For me, collections are kind of dead things, objects lined up in a show case are crying to get out. I don’t like objects sitting on a shelf without any use. They seem dead, abandoned and forgotten, they have lost their worth. I think my taste for repurposing comes from there, I want to give things a second life, rescue them from death.”
Is there anything that you can not imagine parting with?
“I think that stories, tales are what make my heart sing. My mother used to tell me about the gorgeous treasures her grand-mother Blanche had stored in trunks in the attic where my mother as a child would play. Clothes, feathers, hats, gloves, exquisite laces, jewelry, beaded accessories, ivory and silver handles… These trunks have disappeared in a bonfire in 1950s made by an unscrupulous stepdaughter for which all these things were a heap of rubbish. All that escaped are some Bon Marché and Galeries Lafayette 1920s catalogues that I still have. From time to time I sell extra supplies from my flea market visits, but these 1920s catalogues I will never part from.”
On her creative process:
“The elements I bring back from flea markets can sit for several months or even years in my studio before they find their place in a jewelry composition. When I’m in love with something, I have to look at it often, to feast over it and even if I try I can’t do anything with it because I’m overwhelmed by its beauty. So I admire it until I come full of it, then I can play and work with it. Or sometimes I decide to include it in a piece that I will keep for myself but then it always end that during the process I come to terms with it and then I can sell it.
One important thing for me is to avoid making something which would have the look of a vintage jewelry. I don’t make fakes or vintage style jewelry. It must have and show a contemporary twist. I often transform a finding or hammer a part or add an element entirely made from scratch or add some contemporary artisan made parts for balance .
I store my supplies in small storage boxes on the wall but I usually work elbows deep in them all over my table and trays. I always work on different projects at the same time. Some assemblages are waiting on a tray because they’re not ”right” yet. The process is a continuous one, I may complete a piece while walking on the beach or having my coffee, or best of times, daydreaming.”
Vintage burnishers tools on my new soldering table
“Having worked several years in open space offices, it is very important for me to have my own space, I need to be in my bubble, completely isolated from the outer world. In the different flats we have rented, I always had a room of my own for my different creative urges. When we bought our house, I invested a small part of the library that we parted with an antique reclaimed wooden panel, it is situated in the heart of the house and felt like a cocoon. But it is rather small and moreover it is dark. We’re renovating slowly our 1920s house and there was a kind of office separated from the house very damp and containing a disused water tank in its wall. When I received from my father, my grand-parents’ inheritance, we decided to make my dream studio come true and transformed this damp room into an airy atelier overlooking the garden. That what we’ve been working on for more than a year now. First the design and then the heavy work.”
“Just the other day, we were fitting the last missing piece of the jigsaw : an antique metallic atelier door with glass panels. Most of my furniture in my atelier is vintage. Except the metallic storage boxes. Most of my tools are vintage too! Reclaiming, repurposing is a way of life for me and has always been. As a teenager and long before it was trending, I was scouring flea markets and second-hand shops to dress myself and buy some furniture. Not for lack of money, even if it does matter, but because I’ve never seen the point in buying something new, something soul-less that everybody can have, when I can dig some treasures of much better quality both in material and craft to which I give a new life.”
“I graduated in Arts studies and definitely, my imagination is built on all the works of art I’ve seen and studied. Then I’ve worked in a Contemporary Art Center so I had the opportunity to work with several talented artists, and the chance to have a glimpse of their own world. .
I’m living in a world of images, from what I access via the Internet to my everyday environment. I’m lucky to live in a beautiful and varied area, my everyday walks lead me on the sea shore and Loire estuary. I live in an industrial town which is also an harbour. I really have a thing for industrial buildings and devices.
My father was a botanist and designed his own garden and I did design my own small garden as well which is a source of everyday inspiration. All this is my soul food.
Concerning jewellery I admire Renaissance and Art Nouveau jewellery, English Victorian jewelry, Tribal jewellery and Modern Jewellery and most of all the work of Alexander Calder in which the structure is everything.”
Do you listen to music when you work or do you prefer quiet?
“I usually work in silence so I can stay tuned with my inner self. I listen to music when I’m packaging my orders, then I need to keep a certain rhythm so I found music is helping a lot in order to be fast and efficient.”
“Each time it happens, it is always difficult to deal with my frustration. I’ve found that the best way is to let it go. So I start working on something else, taking pictures of the finished pieces or list an item in my Etsy shop. Some other time, I need to get out of the atelier, go for a walk, go to see beautiful things, visit an exhibition, go to the movies or when I’ve a creative block because I’m tired, the best way is to have a rest, reading but still in the atelier so when I look up and see the work in progress I realize that I see it differently and I can go on. This is my favorite corner in my house!”
I love reading about your vide grenier finds on your blog and then seeing how you transform them, where is your favourite place for sourcing materials?
“I have some favorite dealers online but I prefer to scour flea markets and vide-greniers in my local area. The wonderful pleasure of the hunt, to discover a box full of knick-knacks pêle-mêle and at the bottom finding a full card of Victorian buttons!”
“In my new atelier of course, I still can’t realize it’s there! It’’s not ready yet, I still have to find the right place for all my stuff, to make this new place really mine. I’ve planned a cosy corner where to I want to put my sofa where I read, but it need times to hang my frames and mirrors. This new place is a dream, it overlooks my little garden, with big windows offering some new points of view. And the amount of light is mesmerizing!
It’s situation with its own door over the garden will allow me to receive visitors and customers more easily. Before, I did receive visitors in the kitchen and display my jewelry over the mantelpiece, not very professional.”
If you weren’t creating jewellery what might you be doing?
“Something, that’s for sure, I’m definitely a maker! Before jewelry, I had a go at sewing and the last recent years I’m always knitting something”