Thursday, March 6, 2008

Madeleine Boulesteix - Just my cup of tea!

click image to enlarge

I have written previously about how
wild for creative lighting installations I am... and anyone who knows me also knows that I love to re-purpose used materials to make my own art.... so when a friend forwarded me a link to Madeleine Boulesteix' awesome teacup chandeliers, I had to immediately write to ask permission to write about her work. These chandeliers are just my cup of tea ! She makes them out of discarded tea cups and other ephemera that she finds in local London thrift stores.

Having lost her brother, Toby and her long-time friend, Araba Mercer, to cancer, Madeline generously donates a percentage of her profits from sales of these incredible chandeliers to The Cancer Resource Centre in Battersea, South London, a small but vital charity that supports cancer sufferers, their families and friends.

Since she was a child, Madeleine has loved creating. Time spent in the Plymouth College of Art & Design and Goldsmith's College of Art, University of London (where contemporaries included one of my favorite artists, Damien Hirst) launched her on a journey that explored the creative disciplines of drawing, sculpture, photography and the study of textiles. She subsequently worked as a photographer, an art teacher and a theater prop maker. However, she found her greatest joy in creating these whimsical, yet beautiful, teacup chandeliers, a discovery made quite by accident after finding 40 facetted glass drops in a pile of rubbish.
Madeline Boulesteix
She wrote, "I was delighted to discover that people liked them and wanted to buy them, this enabled me to continue two favoured activities of collecting and constructing. It was never just about producing a product, I enjoy that I can blend making art that tickles people, pursue an ecological working practise and support charities all at once."

A member of Clerkenwell Green Association, Hidden Art and the Eco Design Network, Madeleine's work has been widely accepted across the globe. She has been featured in an impressively long list of international exhibitions. In 1999 she was included in Reclaimed, an exhibition exploring the use of recycled materials in contemporary British design. In 2002 she was commissioned by the British Council to make a chandelier for the British Council office in Brussels.

Madeleine says, "I usually start working with a really simple set of ideas, a colour combination, a shape, and the pieces I want to use but right from the beginning the objects develop their own character and I just follow. I find trifle moulds and crinkly pastry cutters very humorous. Toast racks are perhaps the most absurd - what better way to cool down your toast too quickly. Many of the objects I use have a very limited use in my kitchen but in my studio it's another story. Suddenly they have enormous potential. I have always admired inventiveness. I love the articulated toy cars that African and Indian children make. In the punk era a big zip could be used as a tie, an old kettle as a handbag, a bunch of safety pins a stunning brooch. Recycling was born from need but coupled with a human desire to create, reinvent and entertain. I like to think my work is part of this age-old tradition."

A full line of Madeleine's beautiful chandeliers, her commission work and unique jelly bowl lanterns can be found HERE

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