Fleur de Carotte’s creator, artist Amandine Vandebeulque, was born in France but now lives in Brighton. Her art deco-style leather necklaces, whimsical, playful ceramic jewellery, and porcelain rings hand-painted with faces celebrate quirkiness.
Amandine studied literature and drama in France and came to the UK to teach foreign languages at a secondary school, making leather jewellery for friends in her spare time. Keen to “live a more creative and fulfilling life” she left teaching, took a part-time job in the further education sector, started Fleur de Carotte (“Carrot Flower”) in February 2015, and hasn’t looked back.
Amandine is self-taught in her leather, jewellery and ceramic skills, and crafts from two workstations in her large living room – a 1960’s bureau and a yellow Formica table - while she uses a space in her kitchen to lay her ceramic work out to dry. Her home is full of plants, handmade pots, woven wall hangings, rugs and mid-century furniture.
Amandine is drawn to, and inspired by, the work of artists living in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s; the eye-catching drawings of illustrator Laura Carlin which are ”full of energy and playfulness”; and the mixed media work of Italian childrens’ illustrator Beatrice Alemagna. The influence of the art deco movement is evident in her use of light neutral shades with gold undertones and assemblages of everyday items like leather.
She is influenced by what she sees when she goes for a run or a swim locally in Brighton, “the sunniest place in the UK”. She turns the bodies in action and the colourful houses of Brighton she sees every day into into ceramics. A hand-painted face might originate from someone she sees on the street. She explains, “I might spot some guy in Brighton’s North Laine whose face I like. So I turn him into a brooch. And he’ll never know”.
She has based ceramics on female icons including Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and mod icon and groundbreaking model Twiggy. She’s working on tributes to Agatha Christie and Carmen Miranda.
Her creative process starts with “messy and wonky” drawings across five different sketch books to which she turns whenever an idea crosses her mind. Materials and supplies are carefully sourced in Brighton or Sussex (up-cycled leather remnants come from a local craftsman), with their availability determining what she makes and how. She sculpts and glazes her ceramic work by hand, and it’s then fired twice in a kiln at 1260°C. Leather pieces are cut by hand and assembled with non-toxic fabric glue.
Fleur De Carotte is eclectic, authentic and feminine. Her hand-painted faces ooze character and capture the character of her muses perfectly. We especially love Frida Kahlo’s bold unibrow.