When Leslie was only 16 years-old, she developed an interest in sculpture. She got accepted at the Ecole Boulle and soon started her training in the art. After a while, her interest shifted to painting, specifically to Restauration Painting (15th-20th centuries). A few years later, a the age of 33 she realized she wanted her art to go further and therefore she went to Lesage House to learn her first embroidery techniques.
This is the unusual road taken by an unusual young lady who always seeks to learn new techniques to express herself as freely and completely as she possibly can.
Leslie is like a true Renaissance artist, in the sense that she takes her the time to assimilate each new art technique in order to use it in her work. “I was missing an arm”, she says smiling, “embroidery completes me harmoniously, almost organically. This art mingles perfectly with the techniques of painting and sculpting that I already know.”
She is fascinated by fabrics, their textures, colours and shimmering. She loves the feel of the materials on her fingers. Embroidery allows her to merge her previous passions. It lets her delve into depth like in a sculpture, but she can also use the colours and designs techniques like in painting.
Leaning to restore easel paintings taught Leslie to understand the importance of first layers that will influence what will later be visible above it, like our memory influencing our present. This theme about layers became the core of Leslie’s work. She started working on it for her final assignment at the Ecole Boulle, with an installation that allowed a trip through a picture.
In this work, she enlarged an old photo of her Grand-Mother and her siblings as children. As each one had a different memory of this photo, Leslie materialized it by cutting the picture: the photo of each child was then arranged in space so they will not be side by side anymore. Through transparencies and layers, Leslie tried to show us that our convictions can be changed very delicately.
Ecole Boulle – Installation – 2005
Artistic layers can also be used to refer to memory and making subtle embroidery work has become the perfect medium for Leslie. She uses thin layers of textile (linen, silk), on which she paints portraits taken from old, forgotten pictures. Then she adds one or two more layers of embroidered silk. This is Leslie’s ways of depicting our relations with the past, with the souvenirs we have of events and people.
But our memory is not fixed – on the contrary, it is made of waves. The artist finds old photos from her family albums, or from some friends’ stash or even in flea markets. She sees or hears unspoken messages that need to be expressed. Forgotten people – she doesn’t even try to discover their names – tell her some stories of their lives, some emotions that Leslie attempts to capture and express through her art. “At one point, those faces, those silhouettes become alive and I can only follow them where they want to go. I become their tool.” While painting their portrait, the technique, the threads and colours for the embroidery become evident. Sometimes it takes months for one picture to “talk”, and therefore for Leslie to be able to put in art these words.
Her recent works focuses on the impact that our memory has on our present. In “Mémoires” (2019), she depicts two forgotten faces. But it is also through our vision that the communication exists, our vision as a spectator of the 21st century brings a living memory. Memory is constantly changing, transformed, like waves caressing the sand.
The content of this site is free and is not damaged by unwelcome publicity. I do this work with love and passion but it requires a lot of time. I would like to continue to offer a wider market to our artists, to show how embroidery is a wonderful art. But I do need a little bit of help. If you feel like it, you can participate with a little donation to help me continue. I will be so grateful! Thank you! Claire