Textile sculptor Simone Pheulpin creates incredible pieces using raw cotton bands from her home region of Vosges, France. Finding inspiration from heritage is something I admire and relate to; I am constantly inspired by my Peruvian heritage. Just like in my own designs, the influence of Pheulpin’s home region is evident in her work.
Pheulpin is a self-taught artist living between the Vosges Mountains and Paris. She has been drawing inspiration from her natural surroundings for the past 30 years in order to add different elements into her unique sculptures. She is the recipient of the Biennial Women in Textile Art Award, and had a solo exhibition at the Textile Museum in Vetron, France.
In Pheulpin’s home region, the Vosges, cotton is an essential export material used in the textile industry and for manufacturing tires. The strength of the material is what Pheulpin relies on for her sculptures, but the rawness of the cotton is so harsh on her fingers that she can only work on her art for two hours a day.
Regardless of the difficulties Pheulpin faces when she sculpts, her finished pieces are impressive and distinct. The natural landscapes of her surroundings are captured through fossil and shell-like pieces. From a distance, her work looks solid and hard; as if made from wood or stone. Pheulpin creates this illusion by tightly winding and pinning together raw cotton strips. The results are what appear to be natural formations. Her work can be found in museums across Europe, Japan and America.
Pheulpin has been featured in online videos where the process behind her work is showed. She starts with cotton strips that she begins to shape. To further solidify the illusion of nature within her pieces, Pheulpin pins the cotton towards the center of the piece, where they are hidden from view. Because of this, from a distance, it is impossible to tell the material forming the piece. According to Pheulpin, she uses thousands of pins in each piece, all that are visually absent from her final product. With her naturalistic pieces, she creates a deep connection between the nature of Vosges and the viewer. Her appreciation and passion for Vosges is apparent throughout all of her work.
I love that Simone Pheulpin is inspired by her home region of Vosges. It’s always great to learn about fellow fiber artists who gain inspiration from their heritage; especially when their sculptures are entirely unique and distinctively captivating.