Discussion with the Hélio'g workshop - Fanny Boucher and Marie Levoyet

04/19/2021 - Between two impressions

Can you tell us about your career and your encounter with photogravure ?

Marie Levoyet : Before meeting Fanny, I didn't know anything about photogravure. I come from the world of textiles. Then I met Fanny with whom we first shared a year of training, which had an award module in the crafts of "Art of Paris". Then, the program « Maître d’Art Élève » (Master of Art Pupil) allowed me to train myself in the technique of gravure, so I opened my workshop. We share the same premises but we are two independent organisations.
Fanny Boucher : I discovered the gravure printing photogravure technique at the ESTIENNE school where I met my future Master of Art, Jean-Daniel Lemoine, during an engraving class. He had come to give a talk on the photogravure and at the end of my DMA (arts and crafts diploma). I asked him If he could transfer his knowledge to me from home, because at the time there was no workshop strictly speaking for this technique. Jean-Daniel is first and foremost a scientist, so he passed on a lot of extremely rigorous knowledge to me. Something that I kept, but I adapted the techniques so it corresponded to myself. Marie has also reappropriated it since our transmission. There are really transitions phases, it's super interesting ! Then I set up the "Helio'g" gravure workshop in 2000. It was a long journey to be able to have gravure printing recognized and included in the nomenclature of crafts.

Each has its own way of working with photogravure. What appeals to you the most about this practice ?

Fanny Boucher : What appeals to me the most is the relationship with the matrix, the engraved copper. And apart from the technique I would say that it is the cultural richness provided by the diversity of the artists.
Marie Levoyet : I agree with Fanny. Apart from the technique, I particularly appreciate the interaction with the artists, the discussions around their project ... It is always fascinating to see how we adapt according to the requested renderings. We share emotions.

Fanny Boucher, your work "Arboris" won the Liliane Bettencourt prize for intelligence of the hand in 2020. Can you tell us about the birth of this work ?

Fanny Boucher : “Arboris” has been running through my head for a while (ça me trotte dans la tête). It is a work that centers on photogravure copper photogravure the matrix and its plastic richness. The photogravure, to me, can also be a creative technique. Arboris is a 2 m high wall composition that combines 72 copper matrices and prints on paper.

What papers do you use ? I know you have some “favorites” in Joop Stoop's catalog, can you share them with us ?

Fanny Boucher : Exactly, the paper used for "Arboris" is "Awagami" paper.
Marie Levoyet : I use "Awagami Kitakata" and "Awagami Kozo Select", those are really good! Here we have a whole range of papers so that artists can have a choice. But usually the "Awagami" appeals to everyone. Each time we spend hours looking at the new papers offered by Joop Stoop.
Fanny Boucher : It's true that they are really great, there are incredible colors with these papers. But again, it all depends on the projects and demands.
Marie Levoyet : For a classic paper, we often work with "Hahnemühle", but as a specific paper, and for exceptional projects, we will recommend "Awagami".
Fanny Boucher : We are very attentive to what they do, their paper work is very much in line with our approaches. We are planning to go to Japan, and take the opportunity to visit the "Awagami" house, which is to say that it is a little optimistic at the moment. It will be in 2022!

The workshop tends towards the world of Design, why and how did this desire arise ?

Fanny Boucher : Precisely, it is on this reflection to take and make the matrix known elsewhere. I find photogravure so beautiful that I want to show it beyond the graphic arts.

Being from the world of textiles, Marie Levoyet, have you had the idea of photogravure(héliogravure) or print on textiles?

Marie Levoyet : Yes! The idea left me for a while, but it slowly comes back where I feel hooks with certain textile materials or even on paper that looks a lot like fabric ... there are bridges to be made. Working on silk for example, a lighter and more volatile material in a way, that makes me want to!
Fanny Boucher : Whether it's the Atelier Hélio'g or the Atelier Marie Levoyet, we each have our respective research. We are working together on new media, whether traditional such as fabric or completely innovative. It stimulates us a lot. It's super interesting to be able to share our findings.

Picture : Edouard Elias