We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Cognet and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am from Nice, south of France, i grew up there and then i’ve got my first job in fashion in Paris at 20 years old. South of France “Art de Vivre” is very special, and i think i am influenced by that culture in each of my pieces. As a kid I was fascinated by the little town of Vallauris where they were well none for their ceramics. Back in the 60’s Picasso went in Vallauris and made more than 5000 pieces of pottery. I always loved his practice and the way he was considering this humble material to make it a master piece. I think his way of thinking is influencing me every day. Clay is a very special material that allows you to create without boundaries and i love this huge freedom. https://www.thelondonlist.com/culture/picasso-ceramics My fashion career has influenced me a lot as well. I am a Shoes and Bags designer, so for my pieces, when i am making ceramics, I am sketching a lot …. Each product is part of a research and many drawings on the paper and then I make them in 3D. After having designed shoes and bags all my life for luxury brands in Paris, such as Lanvin, Isabel Marant, Sonia Rykiel, Carven… I am used to pay a big attention to details, to research the forms and concept as fare as i can and to try my best to be singular, to make something different. I also love the fact that i need no one to make a piece that is actually sustainable, one of a kind and that is going to bring joy to someone else, and to make his environment nicer and different.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
MAISON BISOUS is a Los Angeles based ceramic studio that I created in 2017 . Each one of my handmade creations is a unique work of art, a snap of a moment captured in a world of fast fashion. More than a ceramic studio, this is a slow life manifesto, i want to highlight the beauty of the hand movement, the craftsmanship, my shapes are organic, textured, brut and sensual. My practice in the studio is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. Creating with your heart, letting your personality shine. It’s about quality over quantity. It’s about finding the perfect shape, the perfect line, the perfect texture. I don’t think i am super apart from others, i am just myself with my creativity, my culture, my failures… I am just very obsessed by aesthetic in all its aspects. Also I am dyslexic women, and sometime i think like i see the world differently, in a positive way, but it took me more time to learn things at school. I think nothing is easy, but you need to work hard to get things in life that is more rewarding at the end, i like this feeling. With my brand, i want to show my vision of a collection of products that are different, modern, well made, unique, and gentle for the planet.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First they need to come to visit my studio and our cool show room in Ladera Heights. We love this neighborhood with the mid century houses and the vintage vibes. Then i take them in my 88 Plymouth Gran Fury to do the classic cool tours. Venice, for a brunch at Gjusta, then Abbot Kiddney to do cafés and some shopping, we are Europeen we always need to walk 😉 Of course a tours at the beach, Malibu or Topanga… Or a museum and gallery tours depending of who is visting … Then we will come back for a nice Apéro at the gorgeous Proper hotel Santa Monica… And after that we will go at night to the Est side, to check fashion cool people and go for a nice Restaurant. My friends and I, we are obsessed with dancing so we will have to go out to dance at either Tenant of the Tree, Zebulon or Oil can Harrys Off course all this things were before COVID… no one is visiting anymore from Europe … We are so sad !
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
OULALALA !!! So many people that I’ve met in my life. Off course everything that you learn along the way is an education , a chance to be better … I already had a company in France that i sold, and some part of that company were painful, but I think they also were the best school to learn to do business, especially when you are born artist and you don’t want to care about numbers and admin, but actually you really HAVE to understand every-single part of running a business. So today my pillars in everything that i am doing are : My husband, My friends and my family, without all of them i will do not much !
Picture @Olivia Cognet