Friday, 30 November 2018

Raw edge appliqué: 'Freedom' inspired by Jean Lurçat.

'Freedom' inspired by one of Jean Lurçat's pieces entitled ' Liberté'

Turns out, this had been my favourite artist so far, so thank you Jinnie ☺

I certainly didn't think I would be saying that when I first say the work of Jean Lurçat. My first reaction was very lukewarm. He was yet another artist unknown to me and when I Googled his work the images I initially found were very mixed and somewhat confusing. As a result I put off thinking about this piece until quite late. However, when I did settle down to do some research I found I could not have been more wrong! I am now a great Jean Lurçat admirer,

Looking at the small thumbnails of his tapestry work really didn't help me appreciate his use of shape, line or colour - or the scale of his work. It was only when I found some high quality images that I began to see what Lurçat's work was all about.

Finding out about his life and what made him 'tick' also helped me understand why he made the work. I like the repetition of the motifs he used such as the French cockerel, celestial bodies and certain plants and animals. I particularly enjoyed finding images of him creating the drawings for his tapestries, a few of which I have added below. I can identify with his method of drawing on the wall!

Jean Lurçat at work

As I looked more closely at his work I was amazed at how he was able to create that 'glow' around many of the motifs he used. I was even more surprised when I discovered that he used an incredibly limited palette of yellow, red, green, blue, grey, ochre—five shades of each colour except green (four) and yellow (six) so that there were exactly thirty tones, plus one black, one white. This makes just thirty-two in all! 

So, for my work I decided to try and do the same and limit my palette of fabrics. I chose a few high quality images of various  his pieces of work and analysed the colours he used and pulled out a colour palette.   

An approximation of Jean Lurçat's colour palette

I searched my stash of hand dyed fabrics that would be a rough approximate to use. 

My fabrics 

By this time I had looked at a great number of pieces of his work and I particularly found myself drawn to his work about Freedom and Liberty - both themes that interest me and that I often use for my quilts. I decided to make my own 'version' of his piece called 'Liberte', inspired by his experiences during World War II and the famous poem by the French poet, Paul Eluard.

And here is my version again, created with raw edge appliqué, free motion embroidery and a little paint for the barbed wire.

'Freedom' inspired by one of Jean Lurçat's pieces entitled ' Liberté'



  1. A really well thought out piece of work which is beautifully done and also the fact that you used design elements from quite a few of his works makes this piece really striking. Love the colours you used as well.

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey Claire, you really looked into this artist. I have to agree on the fact that looking at those thumbnail photos is unfair to artists. Love your quilt.

  3. I know what you mean about the thumbnails being uninspiring: they really Don't do his work justice, and if I hadn't seen them in real life, I probably wouldn't have given them a second glance. I love your interpretation Claire.

  4. Wow, love your piece. Great piece of his to use and your interpretation is amazing.

  5. You have really captured the glow Claire. Your piece is a beautiful interpretation of his work.

  6. Now I feel sad that I dismissed his work so quickly. you have honoured him and his work and have created a sensational piece of your own Claire. Bravo!

  7. Super interpretation of Jean's work Claire; beautifully done and such a modern-looking piece. We certainly must give each new artist a fair chance and I must say, most are very new to me. Thanks for the choices!