Creative talk

Delphine Dénéréaz

Tuesday 2 July 2024

PHOTO CREDIT: Louise Skadhauge

Delphine Dénéréaz, a contemporary artist with a degree in textile design, recently developed a lampshade for the Ezia lamp distributed by Sessùn, and inspired by the blue Delphinium motif. Passionate about lirette weaving and textile recycling, she reinvents this ancestral practice with contemporary symbols. Known for her exhibitions and portraits of Marseille, she continues to explore innovative new projects. Meet a committed and creative artist.

What is your background?

After a BAC STI in Applied Arts in Avignon, I did a master's degree in textile design at La Cambre in Brussels, from which I graduated with distinction in 2013.

How did you come across lirette weaving? What does it involve?

I've always known about lirette mats, without really knowing what they were. They were in our bathrooms, on bedsides and on market stalls. It was during my studies that I discovered the technique and understood what it was all about. It's a way of recycling used linen by weaving it into rugs and blankets. The result is not a very noble type of carpet, but it's a way of putting waste to good use.

What attracted you to this craft?

Apart from the obvious need for an eco-responsible approach, what I particularly like is working with materials that already carry stories, anecdotes and testimonials.
Besides, weaving is an ancestral, universal technique that tells the story of humanity, and I find that magnificent. The language of gestures that span generations and bring people together.

You've chosen to work with old, used fabrics that you bring back to life. What does this mean to you?

I've actually opted to collect fabrics from today's production, which are much more difficult to recycle because of their composition, they pollute more and get damaged more quickly, but at the same time they tell the story of our generation.
Old fabrics are beautiful, they have been preserved by those who have owned them, and I like the idea of not tampering with them. Of not betraying their memory.

By mixing a traditional technique with highly contemporary symbols, you invent a new language. How do you choose the designs for your weavings?

From my daily life, from our means of communication, discoveries in villages, and on my train journeys too, I love new landscapes.

What are your sources of inspiration?

Nature, my anxiety about our future, fairy tales, pagan legends, the unifying symbols of an era, the South.

You've exhibited at the Villa Noailles in Hyères, LaVallée in Brussels, the Silka gallery in Lyon and last year at the Collection Lambert in Avignon... Is there a particular project or exhibition that has put you on the map?

Each one has brought its share of encounters and discoveries. 
I initially made a name for myself with my portrait series on Marseille in 2019 (JUL, OM, TN...), which enabled me to make a living from weaving during lockdown.
Then, the exhibitions you mentioned gave me access to a new audience and new, increasingly ambitious projects.

Where is your studio located and what does it look like?

I have a studio in Marseille, in the shared Vé studio in the Reformés district, which I use as a meeting place and for storage. It's painted pink.
I also have a workshop in the Vaucluse, in the garden of the Magnanarié. It’s a hut, nice and cosy, and my cats like to come and watch me weave.
I have lots of boxes full of fabrics in each of these workshops.

For Sessùn, you developed a lampshade for the Ezia model, a textile lamp. What was your inspiration for it?

At the moment I'm particularly interested in flowers, which are the textile motif par excellence, found at every period in history, in every community. So I wove the flower that inspires me most, the blue Delphinium.

What does Sessùn mean to you?

It's my favourite brand from my high school days. Every Christmas I would get a Sessùn coat that I'd waited all year for, I was so happy. I remember that I loved going to the Sessùn store, which is still there, rue Joseph Vernet in Avignon.

What are your future projects? Are there any other practices or formats you'd like to explore?

I've just finished a residency at Vent des Forêts, where I created a castle that will be set in the heart of a meadow. Then I'm going to prepare a solo exhibition at the Halle in Pont en Royans.

At the same time, I want to continue my research into pieces that combine metal and weaving, perhaps for a new adventure in a gallery.

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