"Osmosis and intimate magic" | Danielle Saulnier and Serge V. Richard
Serge V. Richard and Danielle Saulnier are artists who are also a couple, living in Kedgwick, NB. Each is a fountain of creativity, he does photography, graphic design, illustration, visual art, etc etc... and she works with natural dyeing, quilting, embroidery, slow craft and conscious creating. Together, they inspire one another and encourage each other in their work.
I had the chance to meet Serge and Danielle one day when they came to visit us at home. Danielle showed me some of her smaller embroidered pieces, and one of her large natural dyed quilts, hand-stitched with meditative embroidery. "I just let the process take me along, one step at a time", she said, never knowing what the final product will look like, but trusting the creative journey. Her style is intuitive, free-flowing and reminds one of the organized chaos found in nature, sometimes making sense to the eye, sometimes not. They were both so warm and friendly, eager to share about their creative pursuits, I really wish New Brunswick was smaller so we could get together more often! And as a francophone living in an English-speaking part of the province, it was refreshing to talk about creative stuff in French.
When I saw that Danielle and Serge had done a show together, Danielle showing her embroidered pieces coloured with natural dyes and Serge bringing close up photos of her pieces, I wanted to share it here with you. Here you go! Their creative energy is inspiring and shows how well they work together.
The show was on display at Gallerie Colline in Edmunston.
Text contributed by Serge V. Richard and Danielle Saulnier - translated by Marie-Hélène Morell
Photos by Michel Carrier
Can you give me an overview of this exhibition?
D: The "Osmosis" show is a world of biology that contributes to the sense of harmony and equilibrium in a modern context where life often goes a little too fast. The process of osmosis is uncovered through experimentation with ecological art. Flowers, leaves and minerals are wrapped and tied with cotton threads to be boiled; dyes are extracted to colour textiles that will be embroidered slowly, intuitively. I have been attracted by geometry in embroidery and quilting for a long time, and I love practicing these traditionally feminine disciplines that we find in every culture to some degree. My mother and sisters were skilled in knitting, crocheting and sewing. Sometimes she took apart old clothes to remake a dress or coat for us. Back then, saving and reusing was paramount.
Embroidering by hand allows the practice of slow movement, quieting ourselves and making space for mindfulness. It's an invitation to observe the little details, to look at this installation of five groups of pieces that belong to a textile craft that is both traditional and universal. The idea is to provide a holistic experience, a point of view that seeks to connect one to nature to sense a clarity of spirit, calm and unfurling of the heart.
S: Fascinated by these quasi microscopic details and images within the pieces in my partner Danielle's "Osmosis" exhibition, I ventured into a little world about one inch square. I discovered spirals, blooms, cells, seeds, roots and even some secret passages. It's a little taste of closeness and of time spent, in every little movement of needle and thread stitched with patience, I reflect on my partner's artistic work.
What inspired you to collaborate on this work?
D: I was embroidering nearly every evening beside Serge in his studio. We were both present for the creative process of this intuitive embroidery. Serge participated with his presence, his listening ear and his wonder that was so encouraging. Consistent attention was easy in this environment we created together. With great curiosity and openness to experience, Serge recognized my passion for dyeing and stitching.
S: Danielle and I do a show each year at Gallery 12 at Centre Aberdeen in Moncton. We alternate, one of us hangs our show in the large room and the other on the outside wall of Gallery 12. This show, "Osmosis and Intimage Magic" is the the first in which we chose to create work that was complimentary to the each other's.
Danielle, what was your creative process?
D: I used canvas, woolen coats, and natural fabrics like linen and cotton. It is very interesting to use what I have at home, to recycle and to add value to something. The garden and the kitchen are rich with plants, vegetables and fruit with which to dye fabrics. I marked everything in my journal to take note of my experiments. Sometimes I added metals and leaves to make organic and geometric imprints on the surfaces.
Serge, what inspired your photo choices?
S: I've been experimenting with quasi microscopic "close-ups" in the natural forest world in line with my main artistic process. I was particularly drawn to the mini-worlds of Danielle's work , and started looking at them under a 10x microscope. I wanted to document this universe, and showing together was a simple connection to make. This work invites the viewer to come closer, to really see the intimacy of the work, of a soul.
You are each very creative. Tell me a bit about life together as two artists!
S: For me personally, it's a world of difference. Our processes are so unique and different but it's the same language. It's easier to create, to understand each other's needs and aspirations. Like visiting another artist in their studio or spending the evening surrounded by artist friends, we're constantly reenergized by each other. Each of us are fairly introverted and we really respect each other's personal journeys.
Thank you both for sharing your stories and about this show with us! Keep up the good work :) -MH