What IS this?
If you guessed a funky looking boomerang from the outbacks of Australia, you’d be wrong. Or, if you guessed that it’s a cool piece of African jewelry, you’d be wrong again.
However, it does fit around my neck nicely though!
What this is my dear readers is a work of art that has been rediscovered and brought back to life.
This particular piece happens to be a tieback for draperies, but it is so much more and it was only until I did further research that I discovered just what I had in my hot little fingertips.
Sogni Straw Marquetry tieback at one with nature
Meet Lison de CAUNES.
She is the master craftswoman behind this objet d’art. Lison is one of the best when it comes to straw marquetry and has earned that right by being honored as one of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France. It is the highest honor to be achieved by craftspeople from the government of France.
Lison de CAUNES. Photo courtesy of Les Grandes Ateliers de France
When I was in Paris last year, I was given the opportunity to visit her atelier, but because my schedule was so up in the air and I was with a group of designers, I never got a chance to meet Lison and see where she worked or even to see some of her creations firsthand.
I could shoot myself in the foot for that one! As of last night in doing my research for this post, I just realized what an opportunity I had missed!
But, this gives me one more reason to return.
Straw marquetry had its beginnings in 17th century France. The prisoners of war during Napoleon’s day were most noticed for their contribution. It seems they had a lot of time on their hands and since this is a time consuming work, they were able to devote the time and patience needed to make these objets d’art. Some of these objets are still around and in need of repairing.
That’s where Lison comes in. She’s been doing this for more than twenty years and as a child, was exposed to the art by her grandfather. He happened to be none other than André Groult, a famed decorator from the 1920’s. He designed furniture and these chairs below are one of his designs.
Andre Groult chairs
I love these chairs! I know exactly where I would put them too!
Lison has a website
and you are able to choose between French or English. I highly encourage you to visit because I don’t have any pictures of her work except what she shows on her site and trust me, it is worth taking the time to go to France via the internet. There is a video of her atelier and she gives you a tour so even though you may not speak French, click on it anyway just to see the works of art in her shop.
You will not believe what she is capable of and then you understand exactly why she won the award!
She starts with rye straw. This is what it looks like in its natural state. It is organically grown and hand harvested. Rye straw has a silica glaze making it naturally waterproof. Waxing is all it needs as far as maintenance.
There is an excellent video of an interview of her found here. PLEASE go to this video and watch it because it is totally amazing and is the reason behind this post. My curiosity was peaked so much that I HAD to know more about the tieback I had in my possession!
rye straw. Photo courtesy of R. V. Miller Ltd.
These next 4 photos are examples of straw marquetry incorporated into different items. They do not represent her work but that of other people.