We recently chatted with the dazzling French artist and maker Lucie Capdeville of Lucie Tales, who fashions together some of the most brilliant and unique jewelry from recycled metals and vintage findings. Read on to discover more about Lucie, her shop, and her inspirations.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Lucie Capdeville. I’m French and I live with my husband on the West Coast in South Brittany. I was born in Lyon, France. I’m from a scientific family, so it was not easy to make my artistic feelings and ambitions known and respected. I had to struggle for them. My parents wanted me to be a scientist and practice art as a hobby.
But I couldn’t be someone else … so I eventually followed and graduated in Arts at University. Then I worked in a contemporary art center and later in a public library but I needed to follow my own path. That’s what I’m doing now!
Working with metal is relatively new to me. As an arts student, photography and drawings were my fields of study, then I started sewing and working with fabric. My first encounter with metal was in 2009, when I made urchins out of upcycled aluminum.
How would you describe your artistic style?
This is a very difficult question, I think it is not for me to answer that. And I’m still at the beginning and evolving all the times …
Who are some people who have inspired you to create jewelry?
My father is a botanist, so I grew up observing and naming plants, minerals and animals, I think this education had a profound influence on my way to look at and observe the world and nature. I’m inspired by Mediterranean ethnic jewelry (my family is mixed lot from Greece to Algeria via Spain and the Jewish culture). I’m also deeply impressed by the fabulous photographs of Karl Blossfeldt.
At University I’ve discovered Art Nouveau artists and jewelers such as Lalique, Mucha, Gaillard and their use of organic and floral forms. Among work of contemporary artists that have impressed me is the work of the french artist Hubert Duprat, his work of art with insect larvae and gold fascinates me.
A contemporary jeweller I admire particularly is Nora Rochel and her organic silver rings.
Of the things you’ve created so far, what’s one that you’ve been most proud of?
I can’t say I’m more proud of one piece, it’s more like an affective relation I have with them. Some are more difficult to part from, it isn’t rational, I can’t explain why this piece especially more than this one. Sometimes, I feel that one piece is more “me” than another.
Share one of your most-prized nature possessions.
I would say that my most -prized nature possession is my garden. I live in an old house (from the 1920s) that we are renovating slowly and the garden was a bare and concrete thing from the ’50s. People in the area were traumatized by the war and destructions and the owner of the house had rebuilt part of the house that had been bombed and he had poured concrete all over the garden, there was only a row of well cropped rose bushes left with paths of concrete each side. First I wasn’t much interested in gardening, as a child I had seen my father spent all his weekends tied to gardening chores. But the bare earth and the concrete and some few spare roses shrubs did awaken something in me. Now I’m proud of my little green oasis and I never tire of looking and observing plants and flowers all the year long.
What are some things you enjoy about nature?
I live near the sea, 200 meters far from the shore exactly, which is at the end of the street. Everyday, I go and walk the same path along the shore; it’s a necessity, it helps me to focus on simple things, my needs, and my desires. Walking and observing the changes of the light, of the season, the tides, the pebbles, shells and sea glass, sea birds are a kind of meditation that I need to feel serene.
I love the weird and the bizarre in nature, the things you look at and you don’t know whether it’s animal, vegetal or mineral like cocoons, shells, pods, lichen, rust, foam … As an art student, one of my works was about stains forming a landscape, China ink stains forming seascape.
Finally I think I’m still that child bewildered by shapes of leaves and pods, seeing a whole world in a cloud or an amazing ancient tree in a crack on a saucer cup.