Artist Profile: Marie Josette Wearable Art

Marie Josette 7Partners Marie Payne and Josette Luyckx are textile designers who have collaborated  for many years. Josette talks about creating wearable art and doing business.


ABI: You have a unique working relationship. Please tell us about it.

Marie and I met more than 15 years ago, when Marie agreed to participate in a wearable art fashion show, as long as she did not have to make the garments. A mutual colleague told her she needed to talk to “Josette”. Since that first meeting our working relationship has remained the same.


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Not only do we work independently from our own studios; but, when we begin a new body of work, nothing is discussed other than how many new pieces, deadlines, and if there is a theme. Otherwise, we let each other do what they do best. This allows each of us to create our visions to the fullest.


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Marie, inspired by the world around her, will start the process by experimenting with yarns and dyes to create her palette; designing and sampling weave structures. When she has achieved the desired look and feel of a fabric, yarns are hand-dyed, loom is set-up and weaving begun. Once completed she will wash and press the yardage, which never surpasses 10 yards, and will then deliver it to me.


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Since I never know what Marie will weave, I do not start thinking about a new piece until she delivers the fabric. My inspiration is always the fabric and so it will live on my work table until it speaks. Once it speaks, I’ll begin researching and sketching out ideas until I have the next design. All jacket designs are originals, I do all the pattern drafting, cutting and building. As my inspiration is the fabric, everything that I do in regards to design, embellishment and finishings is all to enhance the fabric.


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ABI: Who purchases your limited edition collections?

We have found that even though our market is small, it is also wide ranging. Our clientele is mainly women who appreciate handmade clothing. They range in age from their late 30’s to their 80’s. Our clients may be executives, entrepreneurs, performers and collectors of wearable art and usually supporters of the arts.


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ABI: How do you create your pop-up shop events?

We search out local venues that will supply the space we need, ideally a visible storefront. Sometimes we are a ‘stand alone’ event, but other times we join another ongoing event, always maintaining our own separate space where we create a ‘boutique-type’ retail setup.


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We have ‘popped up’ in a dance studio, a local hotel and a shopping mall for instance. We are always on the look out for empty retail space that may be a possible location that we can use for a day or two at the most. The more unusual the setting the more interest you can generate for the pop-up.


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Promoting the pop-ups are usually done through social media such as Facebook and Twitter by beginning a couple of months ahead to promote new works, any special promotions, guest artists that may be joining us and so forth. We send out press releases to the local media, list the popup anywhere we can get free listings, and send out evites to our clientele. The day of the event we will have sandwich board signs out directing the public to the pop-up.


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