These figures are light as a feather. That’s because they’re sculpted out of paper
into feminine forms which resemble dancers. They’re called “Mademoiselles” and are the
work of French artists Sophie Mouton-Perrat and Frédéric Guibrunet. Frederic structures the paper and Sophie adds
her touch to it by creating the various figures. “I put the electric parts inside the pleated
section of the lamp to light it up and Sophie works on the personification of each character.” “We both work on the concept of each lamp.” “We each have our own range of skill and expertise.” Sophie uses a paper maché technique to sculpt
the figures. This includes the use of different types of
paper and glue to hold it all together. She prefers paper to other sculpting materials
because of its flexibility. The “made in France label” doesn’t come cheap. But their clients are willing to spend 700
euros and upwards for a hand-sculpted lamp. “There are many different kinds of paper. I started out using old newspapers that I
gathered up. So you can use recycled paper. It’s a good paper to start with and it’s also
very light. It gives you lots of freedom to work at home. There is also paper that’s very valuable,
or there is a transparency to it. Furthermore there are papers that have a quality
that makes them nice to work with and to touch and to mold.” A chemist by trade, Frederic learned about
pleated paper in Asia. Their sculptures are a mix between art and
technology and have made it to some of Paris’s best known addresses: “We have worked on some beautiful projects. For Opéra Garnier, we made the mademoiselles
according to the ballets and operas. We created ballerinas and dancers for the
difference performances that took place there. We also liked working for 107 Rivoli, which
is linked to the Museum of Decorative Arts. There we were commissioned twice to decorate
their windows. Both were projects that were really close
to our hearts because we were part of a specific place and we had to create works that connected
with that place.” The two artists are expanding their repertoire
to include neon light. They outsource the creation of the tube to
a glass blower. Their signature figure is of course included. “The lighted elements come in different forms. Some are shorter and wider than this one. Or we have others that are much larger. The biggest we have measures 150 centimeters.” With Christmas just around the corner Sophie
and Fred are busy making and shipping off lamps and other paper figures to clients all
over the globe. “Our American clients are buying lots of pieces
like this one to put on the top of their Christmas trees. Our Australian clients like our little rabbit
figures like this one, in all colors or in white. And our French clients, of whom there are
also many, really like these little characters, either in white or painted. But our top seller are the Mademoiselles. We’ve sold about 1000 of them so far.” At Christmas and at other times of year, these
decorative lamps shed a cozy light on any space.