Slender and lightweight like a butterfly, with fairy hands. Thus, she welcomes you in her workshop where her delicate paper works are revealed to your eyes. Lauren Collin is a rooted and aerial art craftsman, who draws her signature from her family history, working on paper with scalpel, between shadow and light, shape and emptiness, volume and flat. Her creations make us feel good, as they are the fruit of a very meticulous work, bearing precious moments that speak of elegance and softness, of nature everywhere. Each vision is then a caress of light that leads us to wonder, in an ultimate refinement that reveals the soul of paper and the poetic beauty of the world.
“I come from a loving family with a stomatologist dad who was a maxillofacial surgeon and a mom in the decorative arts, who also had a specialty as a painter in decorations.” Lauren grew up in the Paris region, with the garden as a playground, and learned life by watching her parents. Her mother drawing a lot and created watercolors or useful objects, and her father treating his patients with scalpels. The little girl was fascinated by these works and early, she decided to choose a profession turned towards others, associating it with her great creativity. “I inherited his microscope and I loved looking at the small leaves under the glass plates and peering at the tiny one.” And her childhood little sketchbook reveals a very talented designer, with a great level of detail and colors in each flower and butterfly. Everyone in her family had an artistic streak: a famous illustrator, musicians, a grandfather who was an accountant and passionate about ironwork, then her very-beloved grandmother, left too early, who lived in total immersion in nature. “The chickens, the rabbits, the rhythm of the seasons and the sacred time devoted to cooking… I have here my most beautiful memories.” In high school, Lauren Collin will choose first the option “laboratory and paramedical biology” to invest herself in the technical form patterns of living; then she will take up a generalist path, trying to find a way to combine her scientific spirit and her artistic taste… even if she should move towards professions that are still dedicated to men.
After having successfully completed the “plastic arts” option at the baccalaureate, she enrolled in preparatory classes at the Atelier de Sèvres in Paris. “I had obtained very good grades, which comforted me in the choice of this path and I was thirsty to learn all the disciplines while still leaving open the choice of my specialization.” Building projects, sharpening her gaze, giving the best of herself… she will find her fulfillment there. “I particularly liked design, to create objects that were useful and easy to handle… how to sit comfortably for example. It was my way of helping others, rather than being a doctor or a veterinarian.” Lauren took the next step entering the prestigious Penninghen School of Artistic Direction and Interior Architecture. Despite the masculine coloration of the profession that was described to her at the beginning, her creativity would finally express itself there and on all kind of media, especially paper. As a child, she had set up her restaurant in the garden hut. Here, she created a restaurant model for her degree in interior architecture. “There were plenty of hollow teeth in Paris and it was to sublimate this gap between two buildings with just a platform that went gradually over the rooftops with a sublime view of the capital and a Chef who puts forward local products.” An unforgettable sensory experience with the horizon without limits and the delicate flavors that truly tempt your taste buds. She would use more and more paper, for its cleanliness and transparency, until it becomes her signature with an invention of her own… “striations that I had made with a cutter on a plexiglass that gave stripes all white as waves. I thought it was very beautiful! I then began to cut the paper and this technique stayed with her to this day.”
Now all her pieces have this signature. They are very pure with transparent grain sets, and drawings in the thickness of the paper that reveal unexpected volumes, in a graphic that evolves with shadow and light. Her degree presentation will seduce the firm Gilles & Boissier. “It’s a bit special, enclosed in a box with paper-carved edges, and everything is Japanese paper in the shape of an accordion; so it’s about a hundred sheets of paper that are linked together, and that tells the story of my skill and my personality.” Lauren Collin will practice in this company for more than 3 years as an interior designer. “I had the opportunity to deal with clients, understanding their language and their needs. When you make a plan, everything has to be beautiful to the eye, harmonious and proportional to the body and everything has to be in a room. This is even more difficult because you end up in a smaller format. I needed this progression to get to my today’s art.” In this firm, she will continue to work on the evenings as a visual artist, and will increasingly discover the scope of the possible with her essays. She will also use her father’s scalpels, much lighter to cut through the Arches watercolor leaves of good density (850 or 640 grams). The rest will follow very quickly. A first creation on a smooth paper with a satin grain, where her slightly curved gesture reveals petals and a sumptuous bouquet of flowers reminiscent of the staff moldings of beautiful apartments. She then will decide to devote herself entirely to this art, “difficult to describe…with a very repetitive side of movement combined with limitless creativity.”
Lauren Collin’s luminous sculptures are now recognized and consecrated with multiple awards. She was also nominated as a finalist for the Liliane Bettencourt Prize for the Intelligence of the Hand, and was named European great artist Homo Faber of the Michelangelo Foundation. A profession that is lived alone, but whose whole purpose is to meet people. The projects she carries out reveal all the authenticity of her approach and her world made of softness, simplicity and elegance. Soon, she will exhibit a piece she particularly likes in the Gustav-Lübcke Hamm Museum of Germany. “I designed it during my pregnancy and then worked on it again until last September. It therefore carries a very strong personal imprint and a real evolution of my life as a woman.” A very floral piece with an explosion of flowers, which will be presented among other works dedicated to paper.
And after her unique pieces for the Hotel Crillon, she presently meet with Chef Christophe Hay, two Michelin stars, which will soon open in Blois his first 5 star hotel with a gourmet restaurant, a brasserie, a pastry kiosk and a spa on the river. “It will be called ‘Fleur de Loire’, such a beautiful name and there will be in each of the 44 rooms a representation of one of my works of paper designed for the occasion.” The glittering, graceful droplets, such as the reflections of the Loire, full of freshness and life, will be molded by a French craftsman and whose plaster imprint, different each time, will be exposed to the eyes of the lucky hosts. “These are territories, pieces of nature, universes, visions that also make me evolve personally and I would like to continue to give myself entirely in this kind of project that gives meaning and resonates in my journey.”
At 33, this artist, so deep and bright, will have succeeded her childhood dream. Take care of others by bringing a touch of grace and lightness into the world’s life. How can we reconcile the harmony observed in nature, on such a fragile material but with so much potential? Here lies the metamorphosis of paper into textured work. And Lauren Collin is being shaped in each project, while a forever new creation emerges beneath her fingertips, where the essence of being joins the essential in an endless hymn.
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on February, the 25th 2022
Link to Lauren Collin’s website
“ True luxury is to live in symbiosis with nature, where you find calm and inspiration. On weekends, I go living in a small floating house on the edge of the Étang de la Gaillotte, which opens onto an ornithological reserve. My little daughter then discovers the incredible spectacle of its inhabitants: geeses, swans and cormorants. I like the association with nature, starting from a shape, a movement. And in my work, I also need to master the light, because only a good balance with the shadow can make the volumes perceptible. It’s a bit of unity with everything that exists, like energy and matter, and light tallows things to be revealed. I have this desire to play with it, to make it more tactile, closer and more palpable. And my dearest wish is to find a heaven of peace, as close as possible to nature and the elements, to spend my life there in the workshop and with my family and clients, because that is what is most important to me.
Then I have a real fondness for memories, and I think there are beautiful moments in each of our stories. I see my grandmother I was so close to. That special moment at night when I slept with her, after a busy day. She would take her herbal tea in bed and I would read my childhood book while sipping hot chocolate. These moments carved forever build us. In my creations, I always have the desire to convey these emotions, those who awaken pleasant moments of life and essential for what we have become today. Sometimes a work can make someone cry without understanding why. Undoubtedly, one feels the work on oneself that takes place in the invisible… I therefore aspire to be set back and that the person sees himself as in a mirror and finds guideness to progress.
To be authentic is to listen to your dreams and fulfill them, not keep them in your imagination. For life is simple when we go to the essential, to what does us good, makes us happy and gives us energy. Those who take this path are more free and happier, because many ties hold us back, for they provide a fleeting escape far from our deep needs. Are we afraid of failure? I had worked on the paper around this subject in preparatory classes. I had crumpled paper, these famous dumplings that you make and throw away behind you, disillusioned, but which contain such richness to describe what you experience as a failure. Clues, shapes appear in these sculptures and I had drawn these silhouettes that stand out as so many impressions of this event that is only a passage to other possible. I myself have experienced in my life that we can go beyond failure, in the certainty that something completely unique will come about that will open the exactly path we need in our life journey.
So with time and experience, I’m more and more impressed with what is simple. This simplicity often conceals a great complexity. That of a gesture, for example, which in reality requires great mastery. A calligrapher does not add gestures, he constantly removes them, otherwise spontaneity will never spring from the brush. He purifies the forms, conscious to go to the essentials. It’s a search for sensation, an endless study, and that’s what I find beautiful, when it takes a lot of work to make something feel very simple and at the same time completely obvious. All Scandinavian countries have inspired me enormously with this involvement of nature in art and vice versa; And I also particularly like Japan, even though I haven’t been there yet. In Japanese gardens there is such a delicate emphasis on nature, and there are also some deformities, because beauty is in everything, with shadows and light. I am also sensitive to the philosophy of the gesture mastered to infinity, to the point of creating from an inner unity and no longer from a hand. To become aware of every moment is therefore what leads to this harmony, in a work on oneself in connection with art. I am happy with this perspective where one never gets bored since every moment is unique; and if we pay attention, then unfolds the precious present moment that realizes our dreams ! ”
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on February, the 25th 2022
Link to Lauren Collin’s website