A few years ago, by chance, I discovered the work of Belgium born artist Charlotte Culot. This discovery led me down the wonderful path of her story, her deep connection to nature and the introduction to her collaboration with her business partner Hannah-Sophie Vagedes and expert colourist Perrine Blaise on her very first rug collection, Maison RHIZOMES.
Earlier this year, we were honoured to launch the Maison RHIZOMES collection as part of our Tigmi Art series and include as part of the to the permanent Tigmi collection.
A visit years in the making, we were finally able to meet with Charlotte and Hannah in her studio and atelier in Provence. A beautiful day spent immersing ourselves for the day into Charlotte's incredibly creative and inspiring natural world - Danielle x
An hours drive from Cordes, Charlotte welcomes us to her 'little eagles nest' that is well hidden in Vaucluse, Provence.
Parking in the tiny village below, Charlotte meets us, taking us first to her retreat space. Here there is a rustic cottage stay, it is also where Charlotte keeps her horses that she can often be seen riding all around the hills of the town. When we first arrive we meet Hannah (Charlotte's business partner) for lunch. They tell us that their village is as small as an eyelash on a map of France. Without trade or transport, to live here you must be happy with a life interior, or creative and her world, we are learning - is a wonderful mixture of both.
Connected always to the natural world, Charlotte is convinced that the mountains are places of high energy, which is easy to take in as you sit in this peaceful outdoor scape, where the continuity between art and landscape blur into one.
'The basis of my work is the food that nature gives me. I am very often here planting or tending to my horses.'
We are treated to a beautiful lunch alfresco.
Over lunch, Charlotte & Hannah kindly pass on their local recommendations for Provence (see their recommendations below).
Later we head down to the village where Charlotte's atelier Maison RHIZOMES and the studio is. We encounter a familiar friend, a beautiful woven artwork in gigantic format - a RHIZOMES knotted rug. To develop these carpets, it takes almost a whole year. Each carpet celebrates the connectedness between living things - animal, vegetable and human.
Charlotte's woven art collection RHIZOMES has a botanical origin, which translates to ‘a mass of roots.’ It is no wonder the collection is rooted in natural connection, linking between plant, animal and human with a global and spiritual aura which is a founding principle of her artistic works.
With both an organic and graphic feel, the collection is a timeless assemblage of her emotive artworks, that come to life when woven.
A pure example of the connect between functionality and art, to which Charlotte says,
“We consider our rugs as pieces of art, which is why we create them with a limited-edition approach. We hope that our pieces are adopted into homes as a piece of art rather than an object of decoration.”
At the atelier we are introduced to Charlotte's expert colourist Perrine Blaise. We spend a lot of time observing colours, and immersing into Charlotte's world.
Maison RHIZOMES is calm and welcoming, of course this is helped by our thoughtful hosts. Time seems to slow down, giving us a chance to contemplate her artworks, paintings, carpets and mosaics.
After an unforgettable day together, we can't help but be inspired by Charlotte's way of life and the influence the natural world has on her approach to creation.
Charlotte Culot's local guide to Provence
Le Moulin is the revival of an 18th century mill tuned into a boutique hotel and restaurant - that seamlessly mixes modern and authentic provincial styles. Located in one of Provence's prettiest pastoral villages Lourmarin, this is an area where 'nature is queen' with golden buildings, cobbled streets, lime trees and Le Moulin radiates the same light. With an offering of local faire and a biodynamic local wine-list, Charlotte's own golden masterpiece, her woven Rhizomes 4 tapestry can also be found on the walls of their restaurant.
Chateau La Coste
There is a bespoke philosophy at the heart of Chateau La Coste. Inviting artists to design works of art and then to select the location of it, the installation artworks blend seamlessly to the estate's grounds. It was during a visit here that Charlotte was first inspired by a woven tapestry of Le Corbusier's to begin her 'woven colour' journey, that would soon become RHIZOMES. Charlotte recommends viewing 'Four Cubes To Contemplate Our Environment' by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, and to book lunch at Ando's cafe.
Studio Les Lauves
'Unmissable' Charlotte says when visiting Aix en Provence is a visit to Paul Cezannes studio, Studio Les Lauves. On the outskirts of the city, there is a view of Cezannes precious Mont Sainte Victoire, further up you will find the artists favourite spot to paint this view.
The Popes' Palace of Avignon
A world heritage site, the Popes Palace combines two palaces, built in the years between 1335-1355. Charlotte recommends looking for the beautiful medieval paintings, and the Italian frescoes from the 1400's. During July there is an annual theatre and dance festival in Avignon, with outside theatre everywhere - a joy for children if they are travelling with you.
A contemporary art gallery in a classical building, the works are regularly updated in addition to the permanent collection.
Isle sur la Sorgue
An 'island city' open only on the weekends, this is an experience one must have in Provence. Lovers of vintage and unique objects will love the vintage markets and art galleries, with almost 300 antique dealers located in this small town.
Best approached from north, Menerbes is a village that emerges from the sea of cherry orchards and vineyards - it is often referred to as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Charlotte highly recommends!
The lavender area of Provence, with lavender blooming as far as the eyes can see (and nose can smell!) Kilometres of purple fields, in August an annual Lavender festival is celebrated here, giving you a good guide of when the fields will be in best bloom.
Merci for having us Charlotte, Hannah and Perrine.
First portrait of Charlotte Culot by photographer Karel Balas
If you liked this you might like