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Charlois Fund - Acquisition

Sœur Samuelle – RÉGÉNÉRÉ Exhibition

26 June 2024

Wood mosaic artist



Mosaic artist Sister Samuelle will be exhibiting her work in the exhibition spaces of Fonds Charlois during summer 2024. Mosaics made of wood and slate, some adorned with gold leaf. Fifteen works to complement Charlois’ barrel decoration this year. Sister Samuelle, an atypical artist with a singular career path and multiple influences.



This is a story as we like it at Charlois, and one that proves the adage that “it’s a small world”. The chances of meeting Sister Samuelle, mosaic artist and nun, were slim to none. Thanks to her younger cousin Corentin, a merrandier in Murlin, the meeting took place in July 2023 after a conversation with Guillaume Tozer, cultural engineer at Charlois. “I saw what my cousin was doing, which was exhibited at the Durst gallery, and I thought it might fit in with Charlois’ world,” says Corentin. Several visits to Murlin’s site followed. Sister Samuelle crossed paths with Corentin, recalling childhood memories of a nearby country house, vacations in Beaumont-La-Ferrière, where her cousin now lives, and remembering that her parents were married in the small Berry commune of Herry, close to Murlin… It’s definitely a small world!



Alumnus of the Ecole Boulle


At the dawn of her 48th year, Sister Samuelle is an artist at heart and soul. Although she set her sights on mosaics, it was music that got her started in the artistic world. “I started playing music at a very early age; I loved it and still do. In particular the transverse flute and singing. I wanted to continue my studies in music, but it was complicated. With a literary A-levels in her pocket, she discovered the École Boulle at an open house. I wasn’t too academic,” she says, “I wanted to do something with my hands, so I said to myself, ‘Why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Out of 1000 applications, 60 passed the first round. 24 were selected, including Sister Samuelle. The year was 1994. For three years, she honed her skills in cabinetmaking, with a few detours into marquetry. It was also an opportunity to perfect her knowledge of art and history, and to satisfy her thirst for creation.



The choice of a lifetime. A profession of faith


July 1997: the school year comes to an end, the end of the École Boulle. Sister Samuelle graduated top of her class, no less! She is now 21 years old. Time to choose, time to choose. “I remember at the end of the year, one of our teachers asked us during a round table discussion what we wanted to do later on, saying that if one in ten made a career in cabinetmaking, that would be good enough. As far as I was concerned, my mind had been made up a long time ago: I wanted to take holy orders and become a religious. She joined a religious community in Paris, where she stayed for five years before moving on to Belgium for 4 years, then Italy, a country of mosaics par excellence, where she worked for eight years. “I was a sister and worked part-time restoring furniture, before discovering the world of mosaics. I took part in numerous projects all over Europe, mainly in churches. 



An artist unlike any other


It’s in her studio in Mesnil-Saint-Loup, in the Aube region, where she’s been based since 2014, that Sister Samuelle creates her works, all in mosaic, using materials she often recovers from artisans (roofer, sawyer…). Wood, slate, stones with which she composes her works according to her meditations, reflections, aspirations or walks in the Othe forest. Now a hermit, attached to the diocese of Troyes, Sister Samuelle divides her days between creation and meditation. I live a very simple, contemplative life,” she says, “which also feeds my creative inspiration. Since her return to France, Sister Samuelle has been learning, exploring new techniques and taming new materials to enrich her creativity and creations. In particular, she recycles materials. Wood, slate and stone in circular or flat forms, playing with hues, colors and volumes. The last few months and weeks have been devoted to decorating the barrel entrusted to us by Charlois. The artist subscribes to this approach of adding value to the material. Her creative and contemplative mind has led Sister Samuelle to make the mosaic her own, reinventing it in a resolutely contemporary way. Gradually, wood became an essential element in the composition of her works, bringing her closer to her initial training as a cabinetmaker. “The tree has a major effect on who you are. That’s how I feel. To decorate this barrel, I did everything by hand. From cutting the wooden tesserae, using Oenosylva products, to hollowing out the shell staves to inlay the decorations. The coopers at Manufacture tonnelière La Grange made this barrel by hand, so I could only continue their work by doing the same. I sharpened my chisels, picked up my mallet and set to work.



Photography © Christophe Deschanel




RÉGÉNÉRÉ Exhibition

Sœur Samuelle

June 15 to September 22, 2024


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