The work of Francine Del Pierre

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© Jean Vertut - ©DR - © Jean Vertut.

Not being able to use the wheel because of her short height, Francine Del Pierre gradually perfected her own technique. Self-taught, she was entirely free to work on it, and, without any preconceived ideas, she explored all the modeling possibilities in order to create her own technique. She first drew the form which she had imagined, then reworked it on millimeter paper before realizing it by superposing clay coils. Contrary to round coils, clay coils are preformed in order to be placed well one above the other. Contrary to work on a wheel, which, by virtue of its speed, calls first and foremost for technical skills rather than imagination, work on clay coils allows the imagination to feed itself while creating. Francine Del Pierre did not deny the research on symmetry:

…symmetry that I control very strictly during construction, because I believe that the hands, even skilled, leave to the lines a great sensitivity that the obviousness “too obvious” of modeling would spoil. What the word “modeling”, in pottery, can still call up of primitive or improvised is here refuted in favor of sensitive vibration.*

Francine Del Pierre rightly claimed to have the status of the artist. She expressed what joins and separates pottery and sculpture.

Profiles, forms and volumes are notions common to sculpture and pottery. But the profiles of pottery must respond to the proper dilatation of the hollowness of the piece, which is its core. What determines the limits and the truth of the piece is precisely the perfect development of that core. One can also say that a pottery piece depends on how it uses the hollowness to breathe. Depending on whether the piece will breathe expansively and generously, sometimes up to a point of dangerous dilatation, or breathe carefully, even timidly, it is obvious that one will derive a different impression. This impression, which might be barely discernible to the eye (such a small variation of the line can be enough), will be important in respect of the emotion conveyed. To me, it is therefore because a pottery piece is hollow and because it breathes that it differs fundamentally from abstract sculpture. And because they breathe and have that gift of life, infused by the potter, the forms of pottery are in a way always anthropomorphic

To the elaboration of forms is added a second group of considerations in the making of a piece: the way to work on surfaces. It is not simply a second step which would be entirely dependent on the first, even less the setting of a “décor” on the body of the piece. The way one works on surfaces is an indispensable complement to the elaboration of forms, it contributes to revealing them and to giving them life. Francine Del Pierre worked on her own enamels. Like a painter on her canvas, she dared use glaze on clay.
Various effects of colors and textures can be produced, depending on how the covering fits the body of the piece, and it contributes to giving the form life and movement in space and light. The work on surfaces includes not only the choice of enamel, but also its laying on and all the intended effects one wants to convey, which will only appear out of the kiln, at the end of a baking cycle.

The distribution of designs is another important element Francine Del Pierre’s work. As well as the form, the design must find its balance in space. However, this time it deals with the surfaces and volumes offered by the piece. It also contributes to the way that the piece, seen as a whole, will find its proper place in space. The effect produced does not only concern the design itself but the whole work. Thanks to the design, the piece strengthens its unity.

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