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Art of Perfection Pierre Fouche South African Lace Maker

This time we will take you all the way to South Africa to meet well-known lace artist Pierre Fouche. His lace creations are so clever, so clear, and there is a very strong dynamic, Life is pounding through his subjects done in lace techniques. He is an inspiration for many lace artists.

Pierre Fouche


What brought you to bobbin lace?


I trained as a sculptor, but early in my career, I fell in love with thread and its endless possibilities of manipulation.

Why did you choose bobbin lace to be your medium?


I soon realized that this medium suits my temperament perfectly. It is sensual and intellectually stimulating to make and to appreciate, and even in its simplest form, it can be staggeringly beautiful. These are the three most important requirements for good art, in my opinion.

What would you describe to be most challenging in this technique, and what is most rewarding?


The volume of techniques and styles can be overwhelming. Navigating all of it and finding my own path within it was both challenging and rewarding, and this process is ongoing. There is no excuse to be bored with any technique or style because there are hundreds to study still.

Do you study historical lace?


I am fascinated by historical lace. I have had the honor to view a couple of beautiful museum-quality pieces in private and public collections, and nothing teaches humility quite like those masterpieces. (That's another requirement for good art: it should give you goosebumps when you experience it!) Very few lacemakers have the skill to be able to reproduce anything as fine and monumental as what had been produced in that past. But contemporary lacemakers are catching up quickly, though!


Your idea to combine macrame and bobbin lace is very interesting. When did you come up with the idea to combine those two techniques?


It seemed a logical progression, and working with rope instead of fine thread helped to make the connection. I am a child of the seventies, so I've been exposed to macrame from a very early age, and it still reminds me of my childhood.

Your work is very precise and very thought out. How long does it take you to do preparation for your piece? Do you make an exact detailed drawing before you start?


Anything between two and four months on a pattern, and anything between 4 months and a couple of years to make it, depending on how large or intense the piece is. I am experimenting with different design techniques, but I find that even when I design an exact pricking, I still improvise on the pillow because I often realize a better way to do something after I designed it. The kind of thread and the size of the set-up also influence the kind of lace that the thread "wants" to be. (And Life is so much easier if you don't fight your thread!)


You are working with photography, transferring it in a very original way in fiber art. How long did it take you to develop this technique to the point when you mastered this expression? What difficulties did you have to overcome?


This is an ongoing learning process. I have always been interested in photography and photographic realism, and the role of images in our culture. I am expanding my work to include more intuitive approaches to art-making, especially abstract expressionism. I find that is a healthy balance because there are many facets to my own creativity, and each needs an outlet.

You teach classes, what is most important, what do you want to pass on to your students?


Independence, and the confidence to tackle any project they can imagine. Lace is maturing into an artistic medium capable of expressing any idea in any form. It is my goal as a lace teacher to encourage this view of our medium.


Do you also teach online classes? What are the biggest advantage and disadvantages of online classes?


There are no real disadvantages. It is really nice to meet in person, and the company of lacemakers is the best. But that is a luxury rather than a basic requirement. Online classes can still have that sense of community too. It is just a little harder to encourage and achieve it, but I think online teachers are working at getting better at that.


How can people attend your online classes?


I will be teaching three live workshops this year at the IOLI Uncon and the Doily Free Zone Symposium, both in July. But I also have a growing community of students who subscribe to my design curriculum, demonstration videos, and masterclass for lace artists on www.patreon.com/pierrefouche. This format is very suitable for people who can't spend a couple of days at a time participating in an intense workshop because they can choose their own schedule and work at their own pace.

You participate in the Jane Fullman Lace challenge 2021. It is a very interesting interaction with others and also with yourself. Would you recommend other lacemakers to participate in activities and why? Did you find any benefits in participating for you? ( btw I think it was an excellent idea )


Oh absolutely! It is a wonderful experience to meet other lacemakers. It is inspiring to see so much diversity and enthusiasm. With so much negativity on the news and social media, it is encouraging to be promoting friendship, creativity, support, and goodwill.

You can find more about Pierre on his websitehttp://www.pierrefouche.net/

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