Pause. Take a beat. Breathe. Sit in the stillness.
This is the experience of taking in one of Sarah Espeute’s embroidered works. The French artist uses a delicacy of perception and craft to capture the beauty of everyday life with her trompe-l’oeil home fabrics. Her brand Œuvres Sensibles (Sensitive Pieces) includes embroidered tablecloths, runners, placemats, and towels.
Espeute is a multi-talented artist born in Arles, France. She conducted her Applied Arts studies in Visual Communication at Olivier de Serres (ENSAAMA) in Paris and went on to create a number of arts-based businesses. She used to own a Risograph printing studio and publishing house called Riso Presto, which has since closed. When she joined the design firm Klima Interiors, she began to explore the world of interior design illustration and housewares. This eventually propelled her to the conception of Œuvres Sensibles, which she creates in her current home of Marseille.
“I am very self-taught!” Espeute says of her embroidery skills. “I studied graphic design, but I wanted more creative freedom. I’ve loved decoration and design since I was a little girl, so I experimented a lot on my own afterwards. I had a great desire to express my sensitivity; my personal vision. Embroidery and textiles came very naturally when I developed my first objects.”
Espeute’s work is whimsical, endearing, and tender. It harnesses the warmth of those special moments shared between friends and family while gathered around the table for a meal. There’s a timelessness and universality to her ornate depictions of food, small animals, and other iconography, all poetically threaded into salvaged antique linen. “I buy the fabric directly from individuals on second-hand websites,” she says. “Behind each fabric, there is a family story. It’s very moving!”
The poetic and familial quality imbued within each Œuvre Sensible piece is directly tied to the tactile, handmade nature of embroidery. When I ask why she enjoys the medium so much, Espeute tells me that above all, it’s human. “Behind the embroidery, there is a hand,” she says. “We all have someone close to us who does embroidery. It is a popular art and has been done in all eras and cultures.”
Espeute’s only wish is for the groups who gather around her work to relish the experience of each other’s company. “I hope they have a special and friendly time!”