Art portrait: Anais Guery, textile designer

Are you fascinated by handwork? Every week, Marie Claire Idées joins forces with WeCanDoo to introduce you to the mastery of crafting. Today it is the turn of Anais Guery, a textile designer specializing in indigo dyeing, to open the doors of her workshop.



Giving importance to clothes

A stylist with a degree in decorative arts and an IFM, Anais has always been passionate about textiles. After working for luxury and fashion, she decided to open her own workshop where she works on materials and colors. His specialty: indigo. Ancestral color that goes from the most ethereal blue to midnight blue, in 100% herbal alchemy that is carried out according to the principle of maceration. Ancestral knowledge that she trained with the chemist Michel Garcia and which allowed her to embark on the design of her utopian wardrobe. This textile designer imagines refined clothes, then sews them from precious materials before dyeing them with indigo in her workshop. A wardrobe that defies fast fashion and gives importance to dressing.



A meeting with Anais Guery, a textile designer specializing in indigo dyeing

We went to his workshop in Ivry sur Seine to discover his universe.

Tell us about your work.
I am an artist and designer. I also work on the color, i.e. the indigo color, and on the shape of the garment. So I cut and cut. I started coloring vegetables 5 years ago.

What was your background?
I went through Decorative Arts in Paris where I studied clothes in a quite experimental and creative way. And I spent a year at IFM in clothing design, where we’re actually more spec-based and how to maximize your creative personality to work for luxury and for brands. Then I worked for luxury and for brands as a stylist. And then I realized very quickly that I wanted to set up a more personal project around materials, about experimenting with material and form. And suddenly I started this project to start my own studio. First with quite a fashion vision where I really wanted to develop collections and work by season.

How did you learn about indigo dyeing?
I was trained by Michel Garcia, an expert in vegetable dyes, who really trained me on the indigo part. He trained me in the technique, how to make a dye bath, how to maintain it. It was a fairly short course. After that it was more about traveling, visiting traditional dyers, understanding how it works, how people work in one place and another, is it different, what are their techniques, what are their traditions and besides, my daily experimentation is a kind of knowledge baggage and each workshop has its own. That notion of chemistry, actually color, is quite connected to my photography practice that I did when I was a student, where there is a story about exposure to light. There’s the same thing that we’re going to expose to color, there’s going to be a sort of exposure time, a fixing time and that chemistry on textiles is something that I explored quite quickly because I find that normally just working on a garment is very rigid. Everything is under control, and when we work on color, on textiles, sometimes we lose touch a little and something magical happens

sometimes something magical happens

What do you like most about this job?
What I like about my job is sorting things out from A to Z. I like to have an idea, understand how I will be able to implement it, experiment and when I get to the finished project. Whether it’s a garment or even a collaboration, there’s a sense of joy because what’s comfortable is being both the head and the hands. What I also like is that it opens up a lot of encounters because finally between me what I try to do as an art designer or when I work for other people, when people come to see me for color experts…I end up meeting a lot of professionals who come from different backgrounds. It is quite valuable.

to be both head and hands

was Are you stressed out from doing this job all the time?
The transition between the profession of a stylist and my studio, I want to say that it was a logical continuation of things for me. I didn’t feel like I was interrupting things to do something different. On the other hand, I told myself that I want to do it for myself and I want to do it as I see fit and suddenly I didn’t realize right away that I was leaving the industry to go back to the craft. And actually, as I developed my projects and as I worked on the clothes, the pieces that I was told “ah, but it’s actually very artisanal,” I really got it. It was more like I was doing it my way. This is my personal view. And suddenly it happened spontaneously. It’s not always easy to accept after that, but I don’t regret having that voice.

Is there a typical day?
Postcard craftsmen or creative people often tell me about it and people think that we think like that all day long or create in a very naive way. Times like this are rare. In the end, we still have the daily routine to manage, the orders, the schedule to manage. So I mean the stress is there, it’s not there anymore even in the autonomy part because you have to manage your whole account yourself because the orders have to be processed, the projects have to be done. Plus, looking for new projects, whatever I want to do. It is certain that it brings freedom to work like this, to manage the project alone in the long run. It is something that is very inspiring, but it requires a lot of energy. In fact, we don’t put our energy in the same place as when we work as a team.

It’s very inspiring, but it takes a lot of energy

Was it important for you to work independently?
Being your own boss is not a criterion. It wasn’t the driving force for starting the project, but it was more of a click, that is, working as a team on other projects is very interesting at certain times, and then at certain times when we don’t really understand the goal or when we’re not really aligned with the goal of the brand, the team . It gets really frustrating for me, and it’s actually definitely a driving force for me to work like that as a freelancer.

Can you make a living from your work?
Working as a freelancer, craftsman or otherwise, is really different from getting paid at the end of the month. It depends on the contracts we have, the orders we have…so there are times when it’s time to have fun and other times when it’s more difficult. But what’s still important is to find some kind of fix that still gives you some kind of security and it’s done incrementally and it depends a little bit on how you do it. It can be giving lessons, internships, …

Would you like to learn about coloring vegetables yourself? Go to WeCanDoo to register for Anais Guery workshops.



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