"My inspirations come from nature, redirecting the sense of harmony that I have into an object."
"My friends say I am in love with my work, that I'm unconventionally conventional, and that I'm always evolving as a designer.
"I got interested of this art by following the attraction to well-made leather objects. The power of authenticity is most beautiful expression of nature, such as skins, metal, fossils, stones and crystal. This is what attracts me to my art.
"I come from Brittany, the Celtic part of France, where I was born on October 17, 1949. At the age of 17, I began my world exploration. Three short years later, I was leather crafting in Paris, making fashionable belts. Then I traveled to Mexico, where I picked up huarache braiding skills. I adapted these techniques in Ibiza, Spain, where for eight years I was immersed in a culture-rich environment of leather crafting in the Spanish tradition.
"My next home was the distant town of Chefchouene on the fringe of the Moroccan Rif Mountains. Here, I learned and preserved the traditional methods of Arabic shoe crafting at a time when they were being destroyed by ugly industrial footwear. For 13 years, I produced boots, sandals, bags, and belts. My workshop expanded in magnitude to include 35 hand-toolers and more than a hundred apprentice toolers.
"After my long stint in Morocco, I spent six years in New Zealand crafting custom boots with my arsenal of new techniques. In 2000, I moved to Bali, where I began my love affair with the world of sterling silver gothic jewelry. Today, my sterling silver gothic jewelry is at the top of the gothic silver jewelry industry alongside established sterling silver gothic jewelry luxury labels.
"It was a difficult moment when I took the dyeing techniques of old Moroccan shoemakers and recycled it into new boot designs. It took three years to establish myself after lots of intrigues and high level interventions. But it turned out to be a successful venture with 100 apprentices in 13 years who carried their heritage into the future.
"I use leather, silver, gold, stones and brass as my materials, and nothing is difficult with right knowledge and tools. I was self taught by long practice and watching what was done in leather by native Mexican craftsmen in Chiapas, Spanish old school techniques and old Arabic techniques from Morroco. I learned jewelry arts from Nepal, Java and Bali but, above all, from Bali carvers.
"My inspirations come from nature, redirecting the sense of harmony that I have into an object. As a designer, I look for artisans who master their art and bring grace to our designs – this is something beyond techniques and good work. To see a piece finished after passing through many artisan hands is the nicest part of my art. The most challenging is having to repeat steps until a piece is perfect.
"My hope or my dream for the future is to keep improving my art for benefit of all. I'd like to make an organic perma-culture garden in the hills of Bali for self support and as an example."
Looking for a malachite jewelry, I changed my search to include "emerald," and stumbled upon Lou Guerin's Emerald Serpent bracelet. It just arrived today. It is as beautiful, more beautiful, than I could have believed or hoped. It resembles a snake, the way he layers the pieces of leather, and the color is phenomenal. So are the silver parts. It's sturdy, too; half the bracelet is a gorgeous, smooth silver that lays against the skin. The other half is a smaller section of leather, which makes it extremely interesting since it varies in look, width, materials, as you move around the bracelet. It has two sections of silver clasps, each halfway around, that look like snake skin. I'm not a particular fan of snakes, but this thing is gorgeous, and I'll probably wear it all the time since the clasp is done in a way that keeps it in place. Very strong, very stable. No worries it will EVER fall off accidentally. That's not possible the way he designed it. Can you tell? I LOVE this bracelet! I could only wish there were earrings and a pendant that matched, and an anklet, and a ring while he's at it :-)
- Ann, Oakland, California, USA