From a thousand and one pins

Folded, crimped, pinned – Simone Pheulpin’s fascinating sculptural art.

Once upon a time there was a girl who lived with her family in the Vosges Mountains. While playing in a textile factory, she discovered a long piece of fabric that immediately fascinated her – even long after she had grown up. One day, the young woman began winding, folding, crimping and pinning the fabric with thousands of pins until the raw cotton material was transformed into a sculptural marvel. Soon people realised what unique masterpieces she created with her extraordinary creativity – and she was celebrated all over the world as an artist. What sounds like a fairy-tale is actually a true story: that of French textile artist Simone Pheulpin.

Like grooves and crevices in stone or the age rings of a tree, like curled moss or filigree coral banks: these are the organic-like structures that Simone Pheulpin creates from the ecru-colour, unbleached and simple cotton material. Her sculptures and murals are unique, complex and sophisticated. And are underpinned by just three pillars: first is the kilometres of fabric strips that she still finds in the Vosges, originally used in the manufacture of car tyres. Second is the countless pins that remain invisible from the outside and only reveal themselves during radiography. Third is her visionary power, spectacular technique and dexterity. Added to all this is Pheulpin’s ability to let the creative process take its own course. She succeeds in starting an artwork with an idea but without a plan, continuing it intuitively and completing it instinctively. The way she presents the material, its precision and richness of facets, overwhelms us with incredulous wonder and pure fascination.

«Meine Werke sind das Ergebnis einer instinktiven Expression.»
Simone Pheulpin, Artist

Born in Nancy in 1941, the artist began creating her original artworks in the 1970s. It was not an easy time to succeed in the arts as a woman and self-taught artist. Derided and dismissed as a needleworker in her early days, she is now an internationally recognised and award-winning textile artist: Her works can be seen in the halls of prestigious institutions, including the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Chicago Art Museum. She has also been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, not only within France, but also in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Great Britain, USA and Japan. Her dedication and passion have earned her numerous honours and awards, most recently the Grand Prix de la Création from the city of Paris and an honorary Craft Prize from the Loewe Foundation. 82-year-old Simone Pheulpin is not yet thinking of ending her career as an artist – and we’re delighted about that!


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