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Ceramist and designer Koen De Winter and writer Jean Barbe believe that in order to create, you have to be driven by a need for change. For them, the spark or ideas always arise from some form of irritation.
This is among other things what the two artists share with us in this episode of the podcast series. A whole baggage produced by the Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec. “In order to create, I first have to be irritated by something that isn’t working,” says De Winter. It was when, for example, he noticed that the pestle and mortar sets did not visually go well together that he had the idea of designing a perfectly coordinated model. A fruitful idea since from this kitchen object was born a complete range of products such as a lemon squeezer, a wine seal and coasters.
The one to whom we owe the fabulous novel How to become a monster also conjugates with irritants during his creative work. “Is there another reason to write other than irritation?” He asks with humor. Sometimes I think for months to solve a complex storytelling problem. But when I succeed and the story is good, there is a great feeling of satisfaction, ”says Jean Barbe.
Two childhoods that clash
The two share a lot of similarities in their open and bohemian way of seeing the world. Yet they come from two totally different universes.
Koen, who was born in Belgium, remembers that his blacksmith mother and grandfather saw manual labor as essential. He grew up thinking that art is noble. “We didn’t have any toys at home, the workshop was our playground,” recalls the craftsman.
Jean Barbe rather grew up in a very conventional environment which in a way stifled his creativity: “It pushed me to revolt with books. I was a little boy from Laval who saw a window to the world open in his room every time he opened a book. I owe everything to those books. “
The artist’s real salary
While it is cliché to say that the artist’s real salary lies in applause and recognition, it is an inescapable reality for Koen De Winter and Jean Barbe. The most precious object that the ceramist keeps is, moreover, a satchel that contains all the words and thanks received in connection with his work as a craftsman or that of professor at UQAM, where he has been teaching since 1983.
As for the Quebec writer and screenwriter, he says he is nourished by the messages he receives: “To be said thank you because thanks to us they understood that they were not alone … They are the most beautiful moments. “
To listen to the full exchange between ceramicist Koen De Winter and writer Jean Barbe, and to attend other meetings between local artists, discover the podcast series Quite a baggage produced by the Conseil des métiers d’arts du Québec.