Lison de Caunes

<b>Sac de voyage Weekender en cuir tricolore </b>

<b>Ralph Lauren</b>

bamboo screen (2005)

Two-tone Propeller table (2014) and Lotus bench (2016)

Illustration by Catel created for greeting cards, then published in the graphic novel Ainsi soit Benoîte Groult (Grasset, 2013).

Meet this master of the art of straw marquetry, using original materials and the play of light, as she talks about her career and shares her most special place, in images and words.

With a writer mother (Benoîte Groult) and a journalist father (Georges de Caunes), Lison grew up in a literary home. But it was her interior designer grandfather (André Groult) and couturier great-uncle (Paul Poiret) who influenced her the most. She studied at Paris’s École des Arts Décoratifs, and took up bookbinding, experimenting with unusual materials such as eggshell and bark. Then she explored straw inlay on her own, an art in which André Groult and Jean-Michel Franck had excelled in the 1920s. She learned her craft by restoring numerous items, collected or unearthed at flea markets, that used this “poor man’s marquetry” executed by craftsmen and French convicts and forgotten after WWII. Lison has revived the art, and her work has attracted the attention of luxury brands and Art Deco fans. The stalks of Burgundy rye straw are flattened and glued side by side to form lines and naturalistic curves, requiring a meticulousness verging on meditation. She loves developing techniques like raised straw work (embossing) and gilding and is especially interested in working materials in new ways. As an expert craftswoman, she is passing on her knowledge and skills, but gives herself some 200 years to master them fully.

“The place where I feel most at home . . .

My mother’s house near Concarneau (Brittany), which she bought 30 years ago. Since she died [Benoîte Groult passed away in June 2016], I try to spend a few days every month there. It overlooks Le Pouldu, and you can catch the salty tang of the ocean in the air. The magnificent light shifts constantlyI prefer the ever-changing skies of Brittany to the never-ending blue of southern France. The house has a small garden that my mother tended carefully; but I’m going to plant hydrangeas, which I love. Little by little, I’m renovating and modernizing the place, and I’ve set aside a spot especially for a straw marquetry table of my grandfather’s, which is currently in my studio.”

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Henrik Pedersen