Fleur’s distinctive style which focuses on form, ergonomics and creating tactile shapes rather than intellectual meaning and feeling, was developed during her degree. She finds inspiration for the shapes and forms in her work from looking at things such as the lines created by Swans necks, and those of a Ballet dancers’ body. This idea of creating beautiful sculptural yet functional pewter gifts is evident in her egg holders and spirit measures.
For Fleur Grenier it’s all about handling the work especially at shows, her work is never locked away and is always accessible for people to pick up and handle.
“When people want to pick up my work and ooh and aah over its tactile nature I know I have done a good job!”
When asked about any alternative career paths, Fleur said she never had a plan B! She always knew what she wanted to do as a small child – Fleur remembers some rather ‘dodgy’ pots were made in her kitchen on a potter’s wheel her mum’s friend gave her when she was about nine years old. This was to be just the beginning of her creative journey – she had no back-up plan.
“Whether it is stubbornness or just that I am very determined? It’s a lifestyle choice I have decided to follow. It is more important to be happy in my work rather than in a high paid high flying job! I think!”
Fleur Grenier didn’t embark on the customary traveling journey after graduating from Uni, but Peru is always somewhere she had wanted to visit. And so in 2005 she decided to participate in a Voluntary conservation project in Peru for 5 weeks, as well as visiting the Inca site of Machu Picchu. Lots of work and ideas have since developed from the wealth of photographs she took in Peru, particularly more sculptural work which will be on Seek & Adore soon. Fleur is constantly looking out for and being inspired by different organic shapes and patterns – holiday photographs always turn out to be slightly peculiar… for example images of dried mud which were taken in Turkey later developed into coasters!
These pewter coasters were developed in a similar way, from images of phytoplankton under a microscope. The image was enlarged to a scale were the image takes on an intriguing pattern, and the design etched into the surface of the pewter. A rubber mould is then made of the etched design and then the pewter is then poured into the mould. The pewter casting is then blackened to highlight details, cleaned and polished.
January and February are Fleurs’ months to play! After the Christmas rush she has time to experiment, draw, develop new ideas and produce models. Designing is an important aspect of Fleur Grenier’s work and is what makes it special and unique. Fleur feels it is important to keep producing new work so it doesn’t get boring for both her and the customer. She said that making the same thing over and over again would feel like she was in a factory. However, making one pieces often sparks the development of other pieces and before you know it a whole collection has been born.
Introduced to pewter during her silversmithing course, Fleur was drawn to its versatility, and has found it is less restricting than silver especially in terms of cost. Meaning that for items such as her cheese knife the handle can have a nice weight to it without being hugely expensive, and therefore her pewter gifts are more affordable than if they were made from silver. As she does everything herself, including making all the moulds and forms to cast into, she is not restricted too much by outside costs and designs can be changed quickly.
Fleur is also passionate about promoting pewter as a contemporary material, through her book “Pewter Designs and Techniques” and one day casting workshops. Pewter is often viewed as being a very traditional material as it has a lot of history, the techniques and processes Fleur uses are still the same as those used in the past, but her work demonstrates this lovely material also has a place in the present and future.
“I was approached at Harrogate craft fair by Daniel Goode (Seek and Adore Chief Seeker). To be honest I get approached by quite a few people who are setting up this type of website. But this one seemed very professional, it had a good plan for what would happen and was on the ball with publicity etc. so I decided to join.”