If you love weird illustrations, vibrant colors, and above all fluffy, DIY patches then you´ll just go crazy for Patricia Larocque (A.K.A. ffembroidery).
Through practice and experimentation, this self-thought Canadian embroidery artist based in Lyon creates meticulous, highly detailed embroidered artworks featuring the pulp, freaky creatures that populate Patricia´s restless brain.
Let´s have a chat with her!
Hello Patricia and welcome to Visual Satiation!
Let’s start with an introduction: can you please tell us a bit more about yourself?
Hi hi! My name is Patricia Larocque, I’m mostly an embroidery artist but I like to dabble in all things textile and fun textures depending on my mood.
I’m Canadian but I’m currently based in Lyon, France.
Can you tell us about your background and how it shaped the artist you became?
Well, I was born and raised in a tiny rural fly-in community way in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. I definitely did not have a typical childhood by city standards, and I think my imagination grew from living in such an isolated place.
Also movies, lots and lots of movies.
I was a pretty crafty little kid, learning to knit from my grandma at a very young age. When I was 14 I moved to a bigger city (Saskatoon) in order to go to high school and once I finished that I spontaneously moved to bigger cities (Vancouver, Berlin) as I grew up. I just never felt like settling in any specific place until I met my French boyfriend and that’s how I ended up in Lyon. Still don’t feel settled.
I’ve always been trying different art forms my entire life, drawing, painting, trying to find something that felt right. When I moved to Berlin in 2011 I gave embroidery a try and really fell in love with it even though it took me many years to find the style that I currently have in my work.
How was your quarantine, and how’s the current situation in Lyon? I suppose embroidering was something that helped you keep it busy during the lockdown days…
I kept myself pretty busy during the lockdown, honestly, I kinda loved the quarantine, I had awful asthma inducing allergies so staying in was a good idea. The pollen this year was the next level.
Luckily after a few weeks I finally stopped focusing on the news, I just stitched a ton and did some projects that I had been putting off.
I kinda had the feeling something was gonna go down, being the doomsday prepper that I am, I also stockpiled tons of materials before the lockdown. I have a little dog so I got out within my 1km allowed area a bunch.
I’m a bit of a hermit so it was okay for me. Just kinda figured I should use this time wisely so I think I did okay. Still staying in as much as I can now but with a little coffee break here and there.
The current situation in Lyon is “COVID? I don’t know her.” Everything is open! Bars and restaurants are full! Although most people do still wear masks / use hand sanitizer when going in certain businesses.
I’m still hesitant to go sit in a restaurant to have a meal. Still keeping my distance but seems like everything went back to normal overnight.
How long does it usually take you to finish a piece, and how do you usually work?
It really depends and I honestly don’t time myself.
I wake up early usually around 6:30 am because my partner has to go to work and I’m a morning person. I make coffee and once I’m settled I start working on whatever it is for the day. I work for a few hours and grab a coffee out usually just to get some social interaction and to watch people.
I’d do some errands maybe but once I’m back home I’m usually in for the day. I’ll work all day with little breaks here and there until dinner, and maybe a bit more after that. So usually I’ll be at it for 6-12 hours a day depending on how productive I feel. But there are days when I’m not in the mood at all, and usually, I’ll work on something different like drawing or just researching online, doing the non-fun stuff like writing descriptions or editing photos.
What triggers your creativity, and what kind of themes do you find yourself returning to your art?
No clue really. I’ll watch something or think about something and an idea just pops in my head. I write it down so I have a long running list of ideas or words that I can fall back on in those days when I don’t feel creative.
I guess stress/life are the main themes I’m always coming back to. Maybe someone might look at what I do and think it’s the same cringe face but to me, each piece is so different and tells its own little story. I suck at speaking about my art. I’m like, it’s pretty, I like the colours but I never divulge too much about the ideas behind my work.
As an amazing embroidery artist yourself, who are in your opinion the other artists who’re raising the bar of this art form?
Ugh! I’m honestly so awful in this field, and such of a loner artist because I forgot how to be social since I moved to France. I know there are tons of amazing artists that I’m missing.
I follow a ton of illustrators mostly but an artist I like (whose art actually shows up on my Instagram feed) is Alaina Varrone. She’s super unique and not afraid to embroider some weird shit.
Social media have definitely changed the way people look and interact with art. How did you personally adapt to them, and which are their pros and cons in your opinion?
I like social media, although Instagram has gotten super saturated, and it’s hard to get your work seen or actually see the posts of the people you follow.
So, like everybody else, I also complain about the algorithm (that’s a con), also finding people “inspired” (copy) by my work and seen myself tagged in it’s a super bummer (another con). Seeing artists posting about counterfeit, stolen art is never fun to see as well.
Pros are that you do find and connect with other artists, and get opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise get maybe. Sharing my art is fun but there are definitely things I do not share or I share very sparingly. I’m pretty private about my life unless I know you personally.
In 2011 you first moved from Vancouver to Berlin then to Lyon, where you’re still living. How is France treating you? Which are the things you had to get used to, and which are those you still don’t understand?
The struggle is real. It really depends on the day but I’ve had weeks go by and it’s been totally fine. I’m not sure the Lyonnaise have the best reputation, they’re pretty known for being closed off and it’s hard to break into friend groups. Which yeah, is something that can be very hard to get used too.
My main complaint is the bureaucracy process, French people would agree! It’s pretty scary and not so fun. They love photocopies here, and you must keep every single piece of paper they give you.
I love the food and the wine tho! I’m going for my 10th year residency so I gotta be careful about what I say haha! France is great, Vive la France.
Which was the first place you went back to once the lockdown was over?
I went to a fabric store that was out of my 1 km radius. Bad idea, the line was huge, they were ruder than normal, and everyone was super tense. Now it’s a lot more chilled because Covid disappeared one day apparently, and everything went back to normal. Got a coffee-to-go from my favourite local place.
What other passions characterize you, and what else do you like to do when you’re not working or embroidering cool stuff?
I love getting lost in the wiki hole, learning random bits of useless information.
I’m super scared of flying but I enjoy going to new places and exploring, or try new coffee shops. I’m one of those crazy dog mums so I love heading out with my dog trying to find him little friends because I gave up finding new friends for myself. We know all the dogs in the neighborhood, and honestly, I’ve never seen people smile so much as when they walk by a little dog. So yeah just spreading happiness.
Since you seem to be an expert on the subject, can you recommend to our dear readers 3 of your all-time favorite horror / sci-fi movies?
That’s too damn hard! I never pick favourites. I like most of the films I watched, also I love finding footage horror which people usually hate. I’ll recommend you some of those I always like to revisit each year or I’ve seen recently: Rec (2007), a Spanish found-footage horror movie. Watch the English version of Quarantine (2008), it’s not bad but Rec is definitely better. Sinister (2013) it’s a fun American one. Marianne (2019) it’s a super scary French series, definitely worth to watch. There are tons I could list but these give a good variety.
If you could meet anybody in history, who would it be and why?
Oh no this is such a hard question… I would love to go back in many different time periods but recently (because it was National Indigenous History Month in Canada) I’ve been completely consumed by learning about my own culture, and the history of Canada (it’s super dark). I’m getting into beading and I have some personal projects that I’m planning on, so maybe it’d be cool to go back in time, meet my past relatives, learn first-hand traditional beading techniques, and just live that life for a day. I don’t know the language so not sure how that would work but why not… Let’s jump in a time machine for a day.
What odd smell do you actually enjoy?
Petrichor, the smell after it rains. But I think that’s not that odd.
Describe 2020 in one word.
Like “Hi world! Surprise! All your plans are cancelled until further notice.”
Lastly, let’s give you just few minutes to draw a caricature of yourself and see how it goes! Ready? Go!
Thanks for being with us, Patricia!
We wish you all the best for the future.
Keep up the good work & stay healthy!