She gives Chinese lacquer art a French touch
Updated: 2016-01-22 08:05
By Sun Ye(China Daily)
French designer and artist Chassin de Kergommeaux uses eggshells, lacquer and sharkskin for her series of paintings, titled Chinese Geography.[Photo provided to China Daily]
While Chassin de Kergommeaux has fine-tuned her ways of doing lacquer painting, the country's unique use of the material also fascinates her.
She is now experimenting with ramie, a cloth with extremely long, thin fibers that comes from southern China. It's also called "China grass".
She puts eggshell mosaics and moon images on the cloth, and also patterns from Chinese ethnic groups like the Miao people. While the Miao, found in southwestern China, famously don't have a written language, their embroidery, especially of natural images, has long been a inspiration for many artists.
"I find that many of their arts are fading out. I want to preserve some of them in my works," she says.
"I hope my work can combine both Chinese and French culture. Perhaps you can't always find specific items (in my work) but I hope the essence will be there."
De Kergommeaux's works now regularly make the annual Beijing Design Week. And Summerwood, a Chinese brand that specializes in handmade cloth, will show her ramie-based collection this October.
Her solo exhibition later this month will focus on the full moon, as she finds it a meaningful subject in Chinese culture.
"When I was little, I used to look out the window and say goodnight to the moon daily," she says. "Now in China, the most beautiful thing is when you go to hutong (old alleyways) at night and see the moon above."
De Kergommeaux has lived and worked in a hutong with her architect husband since the very beginning of her days in China. Now, her workshop near Beiluoguxiang has opened in an alleyway that largely retains the loveliness of a typical Beijing lifestyle, with seniors sunbathing on their doorsteps on a nice winter day and children scampering after one another after school.
In her studio, she also does interior design and refurbishes old furniture.
In her spare time, she goes looking for antiques. But not to Panjiayuan, the well-known flea market that has turned touristy.
"I have my secret place in Beijing and I won't tell," she says with a mischievous smile.