Glaucophanes et Prasinites 4 (2009)
145 cms x 142 cms
Marie-Thumette Brichard realised her need for an artistic outlet was something she couldn’t ignore. After attaining a psychology degree the desire to do something creative led to her setting up her own studio as a tapestry weaver in the early seventies.
Ever since she has produced outstanding tapestries, the latest of which focus on the environment. Her rich use of colour gives her flat weave tapestries a visual depth that is inviting and intriguing simultaneously.
What is your background in textiles?
“I studied Psychology at the University of Rennes in Brittany, but I felt I needed a job that was more artistic. After opening a studio in 1973 on the Island of Groix [off the North-west coast of France] I was weaving tapestries but I wanted to acquire a more classical technique so I enrolled in training courses at Atelier de St Cyr with Pierre Daquin in 1977 which was low loom weaving, and then at Kerazan in Brittany in partnership with the Gobelin Factory from 1980-1983 which focused on high / vertical loom weaving. Meanwhile I studied drawing and painting in the high school of arts in Lorient as this is a such an intrinsic part of tapestry weaving.
How do you describe your work?
“My work is essentially inspired by my environment, sky, sea, rocks, seaweed. I try to translate the light so specific of the island [of Groix] in my tapestries and always blue an infinite and immaterial colour.”
What is it about tapestry weaving that appeals?
“Overall I like to make and create tapestries and the feel and tactile nature of weaving appeals today where everything must be done in such a great hurry.”
What materials do you weave with?
“ The warp and weft are in wool, but I can blend cotton and silk. If I need it, I can use very different materials like synthetic or metallic threads or fishing yarns for some special weavings such as one I did for a series called ‘Transparences’.
Where do you weave?
“I live in Brittany, near the sea in Lorient and on the Isle of Groix where I weave in my own studio in my house. My loom is the typical Gobelin loom 2.5m high and 2.6m wide.”
Can you talk through the process of designing and weaving a tapestry?
“Preparing the tapestry is a very important part of the process as it takes a long time to weave it and the fact I can’t see it completely during weaving. For each tapestry I make a precise sketch – it may be a painting, engraving, or collage that I copy it exactly and enlarge to the final size of the tapestry. I then choose the wools and sometimes I weave samples before marking the most important lines on the warp. When I have completed the preparations I am free again to start the separate creative process of weaving the tapestry. ”
Why do you use the traditional Gobelin technique of weaving on the wrong side.
“Sometimes I weave on the right side but when I weave on the back side I look at my work through the warp in the mirror in front of the loom, and it gives me the same sense of distance to the one of a painter in front of his easel.”
This is a very open-ended question but how long does it take to create a tapestry?
“The time it needs! …..about one month for a square meter, but frequently slightly longer.”
Has the textile industry changed much since you started?
“The Internet changes all! Now I am in connection with weavers all around the world and it’s very interesting.”
Are there any exciting plans ahead?
“This year I only want to weave, smaller tapestries (1.1 / 1.5 m) a series about the same theme, and prepare a solo exhibition.
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