Straw woman: a champion of the craft of marquetry

Paris-based maker Lison de Caunes uses Burgundian straw for her exquisite creations

Small jewellery boxes, handcrafted using straw
Small jewellery boxes, handcrafted using straw | Image: Gilles Trillard

The art of straw marquetry is having something of a moment and a champion of the craft is Paris-based maker Lison de Caunes. From her buzzing atelier tucked away in a quiet courtyard in the 6th arrondissement, Caunes employs this exquisite technique to cut, flatten and paste blades of straw onto surfaces to create brilliant patterns.

Lison de Caunes also creates exquisite objet d’art
Lison de Caunes also creates exquisite objet d’art | Image: Gilles Trillard
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Using a technique in existence in Europe since the 17th century and made popular during the art deco period – by her grandfather, designer André Groult, in particular – Caunes has built a thriving business and counts Jacques Grange, Peter Marino and Jean-Louis Deniot among her faithful clients. “I never say no to a request,” says Caunes. “I’ll always find a way to make it afterwards.” In addition to bespoke creations for private homes, Caunes makes site-specific works for marques such as Guerlain and Hermès.

The straw on this table is tinted using dark fabric dyes
The straw on this table is tinted using dark fabric dyes | Image: Gilles Trillard
Straw-inlaid screens are among Lison de Caunes’ larger pieces
Straw-inlaid screens are among Lison de Caunes’ larger pieces | Image: Gilles Trillard

Pieces range from smaller jewellery boxes and objet d’art to large murals, tables, headboards and screens, as well as entire rooms swathed in vibrantly coloured rye straw (from €1,500 per sq m).

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Using straw sourced from three farmers in Burgundy, who tint the naturally durable material using fabric dyes, Caunes and her team create patterns that catch and then reflect the light. Caunes is happy to accommodate colour requests – hues range from indigo to emerald green – “but nothing lighter than the natural straw, so no pastels or white.” Patterns include starbursts and assorted geometric shapes, such as chevrons, often embedded with organic elements such as butterflies and flowers. “I love this peaceful, Zen technique,” says Caunes, “and I also love that the pattern possibilities are endless.”

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