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My French Life: Guest Blog Artist Madeline – “My Louis, My Paris”

Madeline is an American artist who has a penchant for France, Paris and especially the history of Louis XIV. Her mother, a war bride, was born and raised in northern France, hailing from Famille Baratte-Cadet. Madeline studied Art History in California and explains what inspires her as she applies her passion to her gorgeous embroidered artwork to her “thread creatures” inspired by France.

The King holds a party. Silk frocks rustle amid ballet dancers, court jesters, and fireworks. My art invites you to celebrate with me, what is, what was, and what will be. It invites you to gather the fragments of history that linger in all our souls, be it from our genetic destinies or our personal ones, and coalesce them into a whole.

In my work, I’m very interested in the traces left behind. The forgotten faces, the words left unsaid, that echo in my dreams. My style continues to develop and I’m pretty sure the spirits are watching, guiding.

Whether the work is in fibre, mixed media, or paints, I like to create a sort of visual language that can be interpreted by the viewer’s own life experiences. My textiles focus on detail and careful coaxing into one-of-a-kind, hand and machine made, compositions that I hope speak to you. I think of them as love poems.

Part of me is a historian of the eccentric, charming, or even grotesque, byways and back alleys of France. The magic emanating from anecdotal tales of the court of the Sun King, from the blues, yellows, and reds of the stained glass windows in that little gem known as Ste Chappelle, or the filtered sunlight that peeks through onto the curved roads shaded by lovely old plane trees.

Louis XIV “the Great” helped to shape much of France. Reading the letters of Mme de Sévigné sealed my love for Louis and his postulating pomp, his prissy prerogatives, and wielding of royal power, (along with the titillating court gossip) not to mention his wardrobe and shoe collection, all intriguing to me. It’s been said that he even had a few of his victorious battle scenes painted on the heels of some of his shoes.

I make my tiny silk embroidered brooches, available in my Etsy store, Maddy Made Lines, in honor of “my” Louis.

Pourquoi est-ce que, oh, pourquoi, j’aime la France?

There is a flavour, colour, and ambience that I carry in my heart when I remember the evanescent, ephemeral quality that haunted me long after I left the grounds of Versailles. At Musée du Louvre, the remarkable ceilings that begged me to stretch out on the floor to take a photo (yes, I did) and the purple (yes, truly) toilet tissue in the restrooms.

A few of my favourite painters are Boucher, de Troy, Fragonard and Watteau, who capture lavish, sumptuous and richly colorful genre scenes that make the viewer want to reach out and kiss!  Beyond any single name or talent, I stand in awe of the traditions of brilliance and pride-filled work done in a humble manner like those of highly skilled artisans, stonecutters, metal workers, and other craftspeople, so important to the culture and heritage of France.

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