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Behind “Pomme • Cerise” we find Anne-Cerise Bihr. She lives in Saint- Congard in Brittany. She does artistic paper cutting as well as illustrations. In life, her passions are architecture , art and… mathematics !
OJL: Hello Anne-Cerise
Anne-Cerise : Hello!
OJL: Four quick questions before getting to the heart of the matter.
As you live in Saint-Congard, can you tell us what your favorite café is there? And what do you like to drink there?
Anne-Cerise: I am a fan of tea rooms. Unfortunately, there is none in my town… For me, there is nothing better than a good novel, a tea and a purring cat nearby! (laughs)
OJL: And what is your favorite park or place?
Anne-Cerise: At the moment, I would say along the Oust. There are some nice spots. And some of my cats sometimes accompany me there.
OJL: Next, what was the last book you read? And the last song you listened to?
Anne-Cerise: _About the book : I am currently immersed in “The Book of the Ancients” by Mark Lawrence. And it’s a superb discovery ! Both violent and mystical, this novel is filled with strong female characters. I am totally captivated and absorbed by this saga.
_About the music: “If I were a man” by Diane Tell. I really like the way in which she highlights social and sexist injunctions with a concern for fairness and individual freedom.
OJL: Finally, do you have a quote and/or proverb that you like?
Anne-Cerise: Yes, there is one that has a special placed in my heart : “ We don’t make mistakes, we just happy accidents. » by Bob Ross . I think it sums up well the fact that mistakes are an integral part of all learning and that an accident can bring new opportunities. These are beliefs that I try to deeply integrate. But I sometimes find it difficult to be kind to myself. Like many people I think. ( laughs )
OJL: Let’s talk a little about you now. How could you introduce yourself?
Anne-Cerise: I am a designer with an architectural and a scientific backgrounds. I like to combine art and mathematics. I even need it. It’s what makes me feel whole. As far back as I can remember, mathematics were one of my first entertainments (along with drawing). It is a game for me and I still regularly do exercises and solve mathematical puzzles for my pleasure. For me, the roses windows of the cathedrals are as much geometric (and therefore mathematical) shapes as they are drawings. In the same way, I am fascinated by Art Nouveau which wanted to be “total art”. Particularly in architecture. I am also nourished by pop culture. Very young, I took pleasure in escaping, in seeking freedom. Freedom, first of all as an escape from reality, through novels, games, fantasy in all its forms. And, now that I have embraced this philosophy, freedom is like a milestone for my life choices. Freedom and respect for the individual are essential to me.
OJL: You love mathematics… Even although it was a nightmare for many students. Can you tell us more?
Anne-Cerise: I see and I have always see the mathematics as some puzzles or enigmas to be solved. It is entertaining. It also has a reassuring side I find : there is always a logical result and an explainable approach, nothing remains obscure (at least at my level), it is not subjective, the result does not depend on the person who tries to solve the equation. In general, when there is an error in the result, it is due to my inattention (laughs). Mathematics even has a magical aspect ! They can, for example, reveal logical connections between seemingly random elements, such as in the Fibonacci sequence . There are also certain numbers which seem to be found everywhere, in the living and in the inert, I am thinking in particular of the golden ratio or of π (pi), as if there was a sort of “logic of the world” . I almost see a mysticism in it…
OJL: Fascinating… Andwhere does this passion for the roses windows of the cathedrals come from?
Anne-Cerise: I discovered architecture through studies and I dove into it (laughs)! The history of French Catholic architecture is rich and fascinating. The rosettes in particular are geometric (and therefore mathematical) shapes and repetitive but far from monotonous ! There is such a variety ! There are styles that are very different from each other. That of Chartres is composed of jagged, round elements and a limited stained glass surface while that of Amiens is more airy, has a larger stained glass surface and is closer to lace with tapered shapes. There is something for every taste. I was also influenced by reading Bernard Tirtiaux’s novel “The Passer of Light : Nivard de Chassepierre Master Glassmaker”, which I highly recommend, which narrates the journey of a craftsman making stained glass windows and seeking, to across countries, to acquire as much knowledge as possible in this field, to discover new colors, to improve. All taking place in the middle age.
OJL: What do you think they represent?
Anne-Cerise: Due to their round shape, they represent unity, all, even infinity. We also speak of perfection, beauty and harmony for the geometric shapes inscribed in a circle of the rose window. And beyond that, in its architectural realization and in the context of the Christian religion, there was a desire to give churches and cathedrals a divine aspect to these places which are places of meeting between the divine and the human, places of communication with the divine. The stained glass windows that make up these roses (another name for rosettes) are full of colors; colors that were inaccessible (due to the price of materials) to ordinary people, thus giving them an exceptional appearance. The sunlight passing through these stained glass windows thus represents divine light (“And God said, Let there be light : and there was light”). The white light is transformed into a living work of art and contributes to an entire atmosphere with the stone architecture of the buildings which, over the decades, stretch towards the sky, towards the grandiose, to represent and evoke the Divine perfection.
OJL: Who are the professionals who shaped you? Who struck you down? In a few names and why.
Anne-Cerise: There are many!… I would say:
_Victor Horta and Antoni Gaudi (Art Nouveau architects).
_Luc and François Schuiten (architect and illustrator).
_Jane Atché (Art Nouveau illustrator).
_Louise Bourgeois (artist, sculptor).
_Niki de Saint Phalle (painter, sculptor).
_Camille Claudel (sculptor).
But I believe that the one who had the most impact on me, in my early adult life, is the designer Annick Schotte in her daily life. She introduced me to design, a certain vision of interior design as well as a more open and simple philosophy of life than what I had as a model at the time. I had the chance to see her at work in her workshop. I appreciate her creations and find them very poetic.
OJL: Let’s talk a little about your work now. What are you creating?
Anne-Cerise: I create paper works inspired by the roses windows of the cathedrals. The French cathedrals for now. I do that also on the topic of the architecture (particularly the Art Deco style) as well as on the topic of the pop culture. And I also create linocuts and illustrations.
OJL: How can you define your style? Anne-Cerise: The style of my creations (in paper) is very refined and minimalist. It is a work on the superposition of papers to create a volume. The play of the solid white color and the shadows makes the work come alive according to the rays of the sun and the day. I was greatly influenced by architect’s models, often white; objects that I find very aesthetic.
OJL: What techniques do you use? Anne-Cerise: I mainly use paper cutting with a cutter and a cutting machine. I also recently acquired a laser engraver which I am slowly getting to grips with and I hope to soon be able to offer new things using this tool. I also use the computer (for digital illustrations), the watercolor, the Indian ink (extra fine nib, brushes, etc.) and the linocut.
OJL: Is it possible to order a custom work to you ? Anne-Cerise: Yes, whether for portraits, representations of building facades (house, business, etc.). In digital, on paper, in traditional illustration etc… You can contact me to discuss the project together and create a quote. It will be with pleasure !
OJL: Can we subscribe to your newsletter? Because social networks are a bit saturated… Anne-Cerise: This is not planned at the moment. Maybe one day, who knows?
OJL: Do you have a story about creating one of your products? Or one of your sales?
Anne-Cerise: I would say yes… The Strasbourg rose window… It was a real challenge… This rose window, made up of two spaced layers of stone lace, is a real architectural prowess (as much as the cathedral of which it is a part)! It was made during the Gothic period. Moreover, for the anecdote within the anecdote (movie into the movie), it was discovered that, to improve the stability and solidity of the construction, the stones were connected together by some metal elements. In short, it is the ancestor of reinforced concrete ! As for my work around this rose window, it was as much of a challenge for the digital transcription of the image as for its cutting. Indeed, the details are numerous and fit together into a harmonious whole. Being “a bit” of a perfectionist (laughs), I translated a photo into a geometric drawing by going to a certain level of detail… A level of detail that proved difficult to achieve on paper ! We had to find a happy medium or another solution. I started with a middle way and I’m proud of the final product ! …But, because I am curious, I am testing a possible new solution… I hope to be able to show the result soon !
OJL: We can’t wait to see that ! Last question. You definitely have friends who are doing some amazing things ! If you want to promote them a little, now is the time !
Anne-Cerise: Ah Super ! Thank you. Since I arrived in Brittany, I have met two people whose works I really like and whom I would like to highlight :
_Cess (Cécile), who makes superb creations, notably notebooks and handmade embossings : https://www.instagram.com/made.by.cess/
_And Océane Richardson, who does illustrations : https://www.instagram.com/latelierdesreloups/
OJL: Bravo for what you do. May Our Lady protects you.
Anne-Cerise: Thank you ! May she protects you too. And thank you for your work in highlighting the creators ! I am happy to be featured among so many other talents.