Our artisan of the month for May 2021
Marie-Christine Lété in her workshop
How long have you been a member of L'Empreinte cooperative in Montreal?
I became a member in 1993. I was first an employee, in 1991. l'Empreinte became computerized and Martine Thérien, a member of the board of directors, hired me. I never regretted it and remained an employee until I was accepted as a member of the cooperative.
How would you describe your work as an artisan?
I work on 3 different productions.
A production of porcelain pins or magnets with cats or representing an excerpt from a classical or contemporary music score.
A production of decorative but also utilitarian pieces, turned and fired with the raku technique. From egg cups to urns, bowls, pencil pots or teapots.
A production of sculptures, hand-made, fired with smoke and sometimes also fired with the raku technique.
Tell us about your accomplishments as an artisan.
I have developed an expertise in raku, the original Japanese firing technique that I have been using since I started in 1988. Since then, I have been making sculptures, traces of my journey, in which I have left a bit of my soul. When l'Empreinte had a gallery space, in the old premises, I could exhibit them, I was then more productive.
In 1989, the 1001 Pots exhibition began in Val-David, I quickly became involved. I will participate again this year, as an exhibitor as well as a member of the work team.
Tell us about your favourite products available at L'Empreinte boutique.
My piggy banks, as they are my latest. I also love my series of little pear women on slate or clay. I love all my pieces because they reflect the joy of life.
As an artisan, what does it mean to you to be part of L'Empreinte coopérative?
Being part of a family where everyone is involved according to their abilities. When everyone is working towards the same goal, it gives everyone energy and the projects move forward faster.
Do you have a memory or an important moment related to the cooperative that you would like to share with us on this page?
We were still at the old boutique, on the corner of the Bonsecours market. One evening, no customers in the boutique, two teenagers enter and go directly to the gallery at the back of the boutique. They go around quickly and come back to the shop looking like they want to leave. I ask them if they were looking for something in particular? And the girl answers that she had come during the summer with her parents and that there was a large sculpture that she wanted to show to her friend. After description, I realize, with a lot of pride, that she wanted to show him "L'insoumise", one of my sculptures, bigger than me and which had caused a lot of talk. I should have installed a tape recorder to collect all the comments it received. It was the appearance of a human body, a man, as if he had been made of bricks. In the middle of the torso, there was like a window with 3 vertical bars ...and a hand holding one of the bars from inside!