Selvedge’s 2020 programme of residential textile workshops with leading artists and makers has now launched. Here, we introduce Susie Vickery, who will lead Making Historic French Mannequins in August.
Susie worked as a theatrical costumier for 20 years in Australia and the UK, she then spent the next 20 years in Nepal and India, studying embroidery by distance and making embroidered artwork. Liz Hoggard interviews Susie in the next issue of Selvedge (Issue 92 Comfort) about her latest creation, the puppet, Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière:
Susie Vickery is introducing the new man in her life - 18th century French botanist, Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière. ‘He feels almost real to me,’ she laughs, displaying her puppet creation in his intricately embroidered clothing, made from antique linen, cotton and silk.
De Labillardière is a metre tall. His 19th century waistcoat is embroidered with the Western Australian bluebell (billardièra fusiformi) created using a slate frame; while his tailcoat came from an antique piece of Lao weaving. ‘It did feel like a sacrifice but now it’s taken on a life of its own,’ says Vickery, who has been using up all the beautiful fabric she has been hoarding for years.
The botanist’s slippers are made from Hmong cutwork pieces bought in Kathmandu 18 years ago. She decorated them with metalwork crowns bought at the Hand and Lock conference a few years ago. A half-scale male dress stand displays a change of outfit. His orange Banyan (dressing gown) is made from an antique Burmese Chin lungi given to Vickery by friends in Myanmar when she was working there. The lining is an old silk sari from India and the collar and cuffs are made from an antique Parsi sari border.
For more information about Susie's workshop, held at Chateau Dumas, France, where you can learn puppet making techniques, visit www.selvedge.org.