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Flore Layole

Published 01 / 11 / 2021

Recently settled in Sicily, Flore discovered over time the richness of this land. Through her new sculptures, she reveals the diversity and complexity of the essences. Immersive exchange.

Hello Flore, how did you come to work with wood? 

I studied Applied Arts, ceramics and theater. The important thing for me was to physically engage in my work. Through the creation of sets, I understood that it was sculpture and construction that interested me. In search of expertise specific to a natural material, I chose wood and learned about carpentry. It was the discovery of the crooked knife, a tool for digging spoons that changed my relationship with this material: more instinctive, spontaneous and punctuated by nature.

What is your creative process?

Out of necessity and pleasure, I use hand tools - mainly ax and knives - to work with green wood. This is the most direct way I have found to approach this material: to follow it in order to extract something that is new but that goes in its direction. By hand, everything takes longer, it's like choosing to travel by bike or by car: you don't see the same things and you don't go to the same place. In terms of wood, these utensils often start from "almost nothing". But the process exalts the smells, the colors and the transformations. Everywhere I go, in town too, branches are pruned or a storm turns into a harvest of raw material.

What are you interested in creating wooden spoons? 

The simplicity of the object, which for me represents a mobile element of the house, a daily tool with which we can travel. By using it, one becomes attached to its peculiarities, its uniqueness and its changes. All of this contributes to the joy of cooking, of experimenting and of sharing.

Is there a particular essence that you like?

The one I don't know yet! I like wood in its diversity. The strength of hardwoods, the density and fineness of the grain give small objects structure and rich detail. While traveling, looking for samples of trees, I discover new species and it is this research that interests me as much as the possible variations around the everyday object.

You are currently traveling with your tools and have landed in Catania, Sicily. Are there any particularities of wood specific to this volcanic land?

The soil is very fertile and the flamboyant vegetation, everything grows tirelessly on the volcanic soil. The territory of Etna is extremely varied and the species are spread over the different slopes: cultivation of olive trees, chestnut trees, all kinds of fruit trees, old birch forests in altitude… I am still far from having approached all the essences and I discover, over the seasons, the work of green wood in Sicily, in particular through the tools of peasant life.

What inspires you there?

The volcano and nature are omnipresent in Catania. The place where I work overlooks the city and the changes of light upset the perception. The spoken language is full of vitality, it is another way of thinking which, as much as the landscape, nourishes my ideas. The volcanic stone architecture contrasts with the sweetness of the meetings, there is a stimulating tension. Of course, the culinary know-how is at the center of the concerns and the raw material is incredible. Every bite counts and the plate is very scenic. Through certain trades, traditions still resist, for example in the puppet theater where the sculptor is also the one who manipulates the characters on stage: an eye that captures nature to reveal it in the wood and bring it to life.

Can you show us the series of spoons you made for the OROS “On The Table” selection

They are made with the first species that I found here: the olive tree, full of twists and in warm colors and the hackberry, gigantic tree with linear wood. This contrasting ensemble testifies to my arrival in Sicily when I was advised against working with green wood during the scorching summer! With very different shapes, the spoons complement each other in their uses: to taste, to serve, to accommodate two flavors, etc.