Valérie Colas des Francs opened her workshop in the courtyard of Nemours Castle in France, where she exercises a craft unfamiliar to the general public: straw marquetry. Using this humble and light material, the artist sublimates a multitude of decorative and utilitarian objects.
Unique pieces and limited series
Straw marquetry was born in the 17th century and reached its peak in the 18th century. This ornamental technique involves assembling straw strands to cover objects, furniture and wall panels. The straw used has been dried, dyed, flattened and opened. This silica-rich material has the properties of reflecting light and being waterproof.
Recently, under the leadership of French artisans, a particular group of designers rediscovered this poetic technique and its infinite possibilities.
Straw and light
With patience and meticulousness, Valérie Colas des Francs learned her artistic vocation. After 14 years, still fascinated by the potential of this durable and light material, she decided to open her own studio.
The brightness of straw remains a guide in her work; she loves this amazing ambiguity of the material, “Straw provides the offset of time: it is rustic yet very present, even modern.”
The designer offers a new take on classic and contemporary furniture pieces such as the TAM-TAM stool, a design icon of the 60s. She also “dresses” screens and decorative objects such as boxes and light fixtures.
In her research, she mixes straw with other materials like wrought iron, ivory, zinc and stone. The artist recently collaborated with a seamstress in the realization of a bustier. This unique piece is made entirely of embossed flakes glued to fabric, and then hand sewn one by one.