The Fibre Report with Joe Lewis
Virginie Rochetti was born in Aix-en-Provence, France, and lives in Paris – by profession a stage designer, by passion an embroiderer. I saw her Tapestry of Bagnolet and met her in person the opening weekend of the Kaunas Textile Biennale in Lithuania in September 2011. In this interview she explores the why, when, and how her passion for stitching came to be and how engagement with technology allows her a freer expression.
Joe Lewis: How did your interest in embroidery begin?
Virginie Rochetti: I had a family in which one practiced needlework on Sunday instead of watching TV. I always liked it. My grandmother, who had worked in a couturier house, joined us. While we stitched, she told us stories about the things that went on there. At 12, I asked for my own needles, threads, and other embroidery equipment for Christmas. Since then I have continued to stitch even during my art studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. I love the yarn and the repetitive work. It’s like a kind of meditation that is very good for the mind. I also like the “trompe l’œil” effect that occurs when I perfectly transcribe the energy of a drawing with the technique of the embroidery needle. These apparent drawings create a shock when recognized as embroidery; they shift the viewer’s emotions to a different place that challenges them.
JL: Why do you use computer-controlled embroidery?
VR: I am current; I love these wonderful tools that are powerful computers. Since I am a designer and maker, and I do not have a factory of workers to do the job for me, I mechanized my process, myself. A computerized sewing machine gives me greater freedom and allows me to work much faster. I can embroider text and pre-made images; whether the images are photo based or drawn, I can draw them directly onto the cloth. I could reproduce as many copies as I want; I never do, but I know I could.
Read more in our Fall 2012 issue.
Article by Joe Lewis