Nelly Saunier, Feather Worker & Artist

Birds as suppliers, hours of painstaking work that number in the hundreds…we are not in a fable, but in a workshop: that of Nelly Saunier.
Nelly Saunier is an artist working with feathers, one of the last custodians of an ancestral savoir-faire that she fell in love with when she was fourteen years old.
corolla Ararauna © Cecile Rogue
Native American headdresses, carnival masks, aristocratic headgear…sometimes frivolous, sometimes symbolic, at once superficial and spiritual, feathers punctuate the history of adornment and speak volumes about culture. The roaring twenties are crazy with feathers: there were more than four hundred feather-workers in France in 1929 — today, those who remain could be counted on a single hand. But paying no mind if the golden age of feathers is finished, Nelly Saunier went into the craft headlong: after a technical apprenticeship at Lycée Octave Feuillet and advanced training in Applied Arts, she opened her feather workshop.
alcove © Nelly Saunier
The living feather, vibrant, provides her with a magical raw material allowing her to fully express herself. In this in-between space of fabulous creation halfway between couture and sculpture, she works with this rich material as a generator of emotions. In addition to pieces for the largest names in fashion (from Chanel and Givenchy to Nina Ricci and Jean Paul Gaultier), Nelly Saunier uses her exceptional savoir-faire in the service of her own inspirations, giving birth to original compositions, culminations of a happy encounter between art and craft. Under her eye and through her hand, the feather traces its path: it can deceive by transforming into a flower, decorate the wings of a butterfly, or pose atop shoes that are ready to fly.
chemin de fleurs © Pascal ito
“The feather, it is an emotion,” explains Nelly Saunier, “it allows the artist to create objects with natural poetry.” Art objects, light as a feather and free as the air.