Lucie Beauvert can be considered to be a veteran within the world of textiles. She is the blood of new talent and a true weaving connoisseur.
The French-born weaver of the moment, Lucie Beauvert, is a freelance designer and production manager who graduated from Central St Martins College of Art and Design in 2011 with a BA (Hons) in Textile Design. She may still be young, but Lucie is a veteran within the world of textiles and is an expert in all thread-based crafts such as, weave, knit and lace. She originally set her sights on a course of pattern cutting and fashion design, but soon realized that sketching was “not her cup of tea”. It wasn’t long after her first year at university that it became clear that she had a passion for visionary design and wanted to specialise in weaving for the duration of her course.
Since leaving university, this in demand artist has collaborated with some amazing creators, Including architect Paol Kemp, textile artist Johanna Nocke and the renowned design studio Loop.pH a hub of innovative inventors, who work with brands, artists and designers to construct visionary experiences for both private and public clients. Lucie integrated Loop.pH’s lace making design team to create the ‘Faraday Curtain’ – a shield of intricate laced textile mesh, which consisted of multilayers of copper cables being manipulated into a magnified structure of cloth. This was combined with metres of unwanted electrical cables to create a science fictional curtain. The project ‘Waste Not, Want It’ was commissioned for Bloomberg Philanthropy by art and design agency Arts Co, and was a series of specially commissioned art and design projects made almost entirely out of Bloomberg’s waste. Since this project, Lucie is a regular designer associate and production manager for Loop.pH.
‘Colonnade – Theme and Variations’ has been Lucie’s favourite project since leaving university, which she is extremely sentimental about. It was the first time she created a one-to-one scale installation working between the spheres of architecture and textile design. She collaborated with Paol Kemp and Johanna Nocke to develop the design, as well as a variety of other people she had worked with previously who volunteered to help for the production. “It was our first installation project and we had a tiny, tiny budget; we have been lucky to have so many people willing to join us to put the piece up, the research and development we have been able to do through this project was incredibly helpful but the design is nothing without the amazing and really dynamic team who make it happen.”
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Paol Kemp has collaborated with Lucie on a variety of projects. Kemp graduated in Architecture the same time Lucie graduated in Textile Design and they met at their university degree show; Paol was extremely interested in materiality and Lucie was fascinated by space. “We have this on going practice, crossing over disciplines, which splits between the personal research, gathering thoughts and generating spatial occupations such as the ‘Colonnade’; and the external commissions we get as set designers, having the great opportunity to show work in big institutions like Central Saint Martins or the V&A for instance.”
Always full of energy and fresh ideas, Lucie describes that every project she undertakes is a massive achievement. Her ambitious attitude and wealth of knowledge have allowed her to rapidly branch into fashion, architecture and most recently interior textiles. Since leaving university she has been able to carry on with her personal practice projects, concentrating on weaving which she knows she is incredibly lucky to be able to do in comparison to other peers she studied alongside. “I have a personal practice and a rich professional experience going on simultaneously. This parallel is inspiring. It is so good to be able to learn from others; on collaborative projects or free-lancing for a project of someone else. I feel like it is important to share some experience that way and you certainly gain from it. Its important to make connections with other artists or designers who may be able to help you with your personal projects at a later date.”
With a variety of collections under her belt, even after such a short time since graduating, Lucie has found every project inspiring and challenging. It is her determined attitude that has allowed her to regenerate work with a broad array of designers and to create a variety of collections using new materials, scales and mediums, to keep her work fresh and contemporary. Lucie is currently working on a short project alongside fashion designer Lilit Hovha, whose collection refers to the notion of garment as an instinctive protection. In order to answer the designer’s intention, she is producing hand-woven pieces made of hair; this material that naturally grows to cover the body is combined into a blown-up basic pattern of weave, suggesting the contrast with man-made materials which envelope Hovha’s silhouettes.
As you have probably gathered already, Lucie is not your old school, traditional textile designer. She is passionate about her craft and stretching its boundaries. Within her work, she combines crafts, arts and theory, a synthesis of technique, composition and communication. She is influenced by her general surroundings, by the body and its various scales of interaction, and uses the sciences, either natural or social, as sources of inspiration. Visual inspiration is not a literal research method Lucie uses. “To me the so-called method of ‘visual inspiration’ is a short cut; of course I am inspired by what I see but the visual has always a wider context, and I am rather inspired by what I discover of this context. I was reading recently an essay by the architect Juhani Pallasmaa who argues that our body sees also with other senses than sight, that designers should stop to draw only for the eye, already fed up by our visual culture; that is inspiring me!” The research process for her is really broad and she likes to research in depth, to delve into the many aspects of a given theme, and then use personal results to interpret her own vision through design models, diagrams, and drawings, until the final idea comes out. “I always do my research. I do look at other people’s work as a secondary source although my own research guides me through the thought concept. It is difficult to allow time for this on every project but it becomes a lot more interesting if you can draw your own context and atmosphere.”
And if that was not enough, most recently she founded the ‘Weavers Nest’ – a go to workshop allowing passionate weavers and professional designers to carry out short-term projects within an artistic atmosphere, using specialist weaver’s tools. “It is fantastic to surround yourself with people who are like-minded and share the same passion.” The ‘nest’ is also the new home of one of St Martins long-standing 16 shaft George Wood dobby loom. When the prestigious college moved to its new glamorous location, there wasn’t enough space for them to take everything. They found themselves with one weaving loom too many and knowing who will take the best care of it (she is a visiting technician) they offered it to Lucie. And it was this gift out of which the idea of forming a collective was born.
With new exciting collaborations underway, and various other artistic and commercial projects in the pipeline, the art and craft of weaving seem to be in good hands. One of Lucie’s plans in the future is to continue expressing herself through her craft and to share her technique as well as her outcomes “I would like to concentrate on the ‘Weavers Nest’ to welcome other weavers, to support them technically if needed or to learn from them, and to organise workshops introducing more people into weaving.”
So what do the next ten years hold for her? “What would I dream of doing in ten years? I would love to travel, to research ancient crafts, travel to South America and Japan and surround myself with creative people who know about specific techniques of the art.” Lucie would also love to continue to collaborate with different types of creatives; artists, architects, and performers. “I would like to work with scientists and engineers and pursue my exchanges with performers. It’s always good to learn new things from different people. That is when your personal practice evolves, you always are inspired by new combinations.”
It may not be the most glamourous day job, and it certainly is time-consuming and hard work but Lucie’s chosen “profession” is incredibly rewarding. In her own words, she explains how lucky she is to be able to wake up and do something she is so passionate about every-day, being constantly surrounded by like minded people who she develops creative relationships with and who she can learn from. She is the new blood of talent and skills that the industry needs. What a fantastic role model she is and a true weaving connoisseur.
To find out more about Lucie Beauvert and her work, visit her Utelier Profile.