13 / 11 / 2012

Karuna Balloo

Karuna Balloo

I have chosen Karuna Balloo, the incredibly talented ‘horticultural embroiderer' to kick start this new column. What do you mean you've never heard of an ‘horticultural embroiderer'? Well here is Karuna to tell us a bit more about her craft!

Sessùn is like one big family. I have colleagues that I work with on a daily basis and it feels like we are all part of the same amazing adventure; we are all in it together and are genuinely very close.

And there are also all sorts of other different people who are involved with Sessùn. Some are old friends, others are clients, and others are simply people that Emma François and the team have got to know over the years because we love their work.

I have decided to create a brand new section dedicated to these people who have become part of Sessùn's close circle of friends.

Karuna Balloo's website:

Let's start with the basics. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Karuna Balloo. I'm 28 years old (well, 38 really!). I have been living in the Bastille district of Paris for the past 12 years. And I'm a horticultural embroiderer.

Describe how you got to where you are. What have been the key stages in your artistic careers?

I studied History of Art at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris then I did Fashion at LISAA (L’Institut Supérieur des Arts Appliqués). I went on to work as a freelance textile designer for the next 10 years, and as a costume designer for the theatre, cinema and TV.

How would you describe your relationship with Sessùn?

It's the prettiest boutique in my neighbourhood, and a place where I'm always certain to bump into one of my girl friends.It's on my way to work, as well as being just opposite the Pause Café where I usually meet up with my boyfriend. It's great for me for finding dresses, as I'm only 1m60 tall. The range of colours really suits each season, I love the fabrics. And what I really like is that nothing really ever goes out of fashion from one year to the next.

How would you describe your designs?

I create flowers through the seasons from things I find. Each piece is named after a song and has a special concept and an emotion attached to it. For example, One Night In Bangkok is red.

All my flowers are hand-made in Paris. They are very rare as the fabrics I use are often end-of-the-line haute couture and only exist in limited quantities. That is what I think luxury really means.

What raw material(s) do you work with? Which is your favourite?

My favourite fabric to work with is silk organza but I also love organdy (a sort of sheer lightweight crisp cotton), as well as old silk brocade which can give really spectacular results.

How do you work? Where do you get your ideas from? Tell us about what inspires you.

I try lots of things out and also do research at the library. I get a lot of inspiration from the movies and period dramas. For example, I love Hercule Poirot!

What is your favourite piece out of all your designs and why?

Initials BB is quite magic! (A fluorescent pink and malachite green flower). You make a lot of friends when you wear it.

If you get my drift.

Describe your typical day as a jewellery designer. And your workshop.

In the morning, I reply to my emails and go to meetings. Then I spend all afternoon putting together my flowers in my workshop which is in a quiet back garden in Montreuil, far from the distractions of the rue de Charonne and away from my computer. I enjoy it, it's very calming, like yoga for the mind. But I do listen to music and there's even a disco ball on the ceiling.

What did you dream of being when you were children?

I imagined I would be an archeologist or a landscape gardener.

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?

We are getting all our orders ready for Christmas as well as working on our press presentation for our summer 2013 collection. 2013 will be a year full of colour!