Véronique de Soultrait
This cord sculptor and designer talks about her work and her most special place, in images and words.
She discovered art as a child, using drawing as a form of escape when reality affected her too deeply. After working for 25 years as a decorative painter in châteaux and churches, Véronique de Soultrait now weaves her craft with pieces of string. A collector at heart, she began to salvage pieces of crochet and dye them in muted tones, making matching linen linings and sewing them together into cushions and bed runners. She developed a passion for cord work. A pioneer in the medium, she uses her fingers to braid, knot, twist and wind compositions out of jute or cord made from flax or hemp, which is pre-dyed then enhanced with gold or other colors. Inspired by nature and its elemental forms, and by Soulages, Satie and Buddhism, she works alone, “filled with great spiritual calm.” Her favorite motif is the circle, a symbol of the infinite, which recalls the mandala. A morning meditation in the peace and quiet of her workshop in Lyon. An ascetic who enjoys life, she has a sense of mischief and loves the unpredictable, but is not so keen on following instructions. Her aim: to make people dream through the geometric rhythms, subtle hues and simple harmonies of her sculptural panels. Her success has led her to train a few assistants. She recently began painting again, creating abstract works in inks and watercolor. Her craft pulls the strings of our imagination.
“The place where I feel most at home . . . is just behind Kovalam Beach in Kerala, the backwaters with their birdsong at daybreak. India is my second country: I got married there, and then for three months we traveled all over. It’s a place with a Zen feel that I can escape to; I feel at home there, centered. I like the kindness, the gentleness and the authenticity of southern India. Here the rain is magical, with its smell and the lushness that it generates. The country embodies the excess of sensuality; it’s endlessly intoxicating. To my eyes, it’s orange, scented with jasmine and incense, like the wreaths of smoke that perfume my workshop; I like this purifying ritual.”
© Frenchie Cristogatin - Véronique de Soultrait - Érick Saillet