Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twenty Questions with Apol of LaPomme

I first came across Apol's work on Etsy's front page and today I have the privilege of chatting with her about her creations. Apol runs two wonderful shops; La Pomme where she sells her beautiful plushies and sleep angels filled with herbs from her backyard in Provence, and La Pomme Stories which is full of beautiful fabric collaged story books and cards. She also finds the time to write a beautiful blog. So let's meet the lady behind the magic!

The Fab Miss B: First off, tell us a little about you. Is life in Provence like the Peter Mayle books? What prompted you to move there? What is the best thing about life in the French countryside?

Apol: I had been born and grew up in the big city but had always been a little bit jealous of friends who had their roots in small towns. Plus, I was really exhausted after more than a decade of working in media. It’s work that sucks the blood out of you! So when my husband proposed that I come live with him here in the south, where he spent part of his childhood, it wasn’t too hard a decision to make.

Is it like the Peter Mayle books? In one word: yes. I don’t know if you would think that way if you were French, but if you’re a foreigner seeing this part of the world with a newcomer’s eyes, then it would seem to you pretty much like how it is described in A Year in Provence
. I love it! Not to say that there were no difficulties; there were, mainly to do with language and a bit to do with that I’m Asian and there are almost no minorities here, but when I learned to speak pretty fluently and not to mind the stares, things just started to flow.

I adore how the people here are not all about work and career, they know to stop and enjoy life’s pleasures, like having a good meal with family on a Sunday or a nice drink with friends at sundown, and the conversation does not revolve around what they do for a living. Plus, and not to forget, the food is really good.

The Fab Miss B:What inspires you?

Apol:I always have difficulty answering this question. I am not really sure what inspires me, but I know when I am inspired. I feel this rush, this excitement, a certain shortness of breath, and then I just have to get my hands on a piece of fabric and do something!

The Fab Miss B:What are your favorite simple pleasures?

Apol:A lot has to do with food: I love to cook. I love going to our twice-weekly outdoor market to find things to cook, and also finding goat cheese just perfectly so--not too fresh nor too aged. I always appreciate a glass of good wine. I love eating a good salad with lettuce, tomatoes, gizzard, and a nice mustard-based sauce on a regular day. I love going to our favorite restaurant Café Bouzigues when there’s something to celebrate.

The Fab Miss B:One of the things I am drawn to in your work is the spirit of playfulness. I also love the way your creations look home-spun yet still beautifully crafted. How do you achieve this look?

Apol:It’s my nature, I suppose. I am playful. I joke around a lot and laugh a lot. Ask people around me to describe me, and I suppose most of them will say that I’m a funny girl. Of course, I would like to think that I am more than that, but I just know when not to take things--including myself--very seriously, which is 95-percent of the time.

As for how I achieve the look of my products, I don’t really know. It just comes out that way, although I have always been attracted to furniture with a rough-hewn, handmade aesthetic; to art with a naïve quality to them; to patchwork and embroidery in clothing.

The Fab Miss B:While we lived in China, finding craft supplies was always a fascinating challenge. I couldn’t find things like wooden beads, but there were lots of beautiful silks and pearls. Is it the same for you in Provence? What special local materials are readily available?

Apol:Herbs! Lots and lots of fragrant herbs! I love going for walks in the mountains to pick up things like rosemary, thyme, and rue. A dash of wild-gathered thyme does wonders for my Bolognese sauce.

The Fab Miss B:What is your creative process like? Do you sketch and journal your ideas, or do you just begin to play around in your studio?

Apol:Occasionally, I do sketches, especially if I am going to machine-embroider freehand, but most of the time I just sit in front of my work table and get to it. I work with some patterns, but I am most happy when I am just winging it and inventing something new.

The Fab Miss B:One of the most difficult things about running a crafting business seems to be balancing the creative side with the work of running a business. What are the secrets you’ve learned as you’ve built a successful business?

Apol:I have found out how to get by on very little sleep, and that it is essential to have a husband who makes sure my computer is running perfectly, and who does not mind running out for a pizza or a roast chicken at night to feed me as I sort of slide off my sewing machine in exhaustion…

The Fab Miss B:After reading your interview on Heart Handmade, I have to ask, when your book will come out? Congratulations!

Apol:My publisher promises it will be out before the new year comes in! It's a book of essays about adjusting to a new country, and I am expecting accusations of copying Peter Mayle :)

* Editor's note- The Fab Miss B is quite sure that whatever Apol does, she makes it uniquely hers. I can't wait to read about Provence through her eyes! Thanks again Apol!


Ravenhill said...

Wow, such a wonderful read about one of my favorite artists! Thank you! I didn't know she was going to be making a book! Very exciting!

chelsea said...

Her work is so incredible.

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