There is no studio in Haiti as beautiful as that of Haitian designer and community arts activist Pascale Théard. A step inside Pascale’s divine space, Pascale Théard Creations, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is pure magic. Instantly, a visitor’s eyes are welcomed by a burst of color and emotion that no one besides Pascale could create. It is no wonder that Pascale’s work is world renown and she is one of the most famous designers in Haiti.
The daughter of a Haitian industrialist, a lover of art, and a French mother, heiress of a 200-year-old family tannery, Pascale Théard grew up in Port-au-Prince to the rhythm and beat of Hait’s unique culture. Her childhood was filled with art and creation which eventually became her lifelong passion and career. Pascale left Haiti to study in France where she worked with some of the top luxury leather goods brands in Paris and Milan before returning home to launch her own unique brand, Pascale Théard Creations, the first handmade luxury leather goods brand in Haiti.
It was my second visit to Pascale Théard Creations and despite having toured her studio before, I was still completely mesmerized by the absolute beauty and life of her work.
Immediately as you open the door, you are invited into a world bursting with color, life and ingenuity. The words painted across the wall reveal Pascale’s utter love and devotion to her country: AYITI NAN KÈ’M (“Haiti is in my heart)”.
Her current theme is based on the incredible, vibrant art found on Haiti’s tap-taps. A tap tap (which literally means “quick quick” is a privately owned vehicle for hire that is usually made from a pick-up truck and has some of the most incredible, painstakingly detailed art imaginable. Even buses are used as larger tap taps for longer distance rides, and are equally as impressive as the done-up pick-up trucks. Along the streets, tap taps are everywhere painted like a kaleidoscope of colors and imagination. (I did an entire post on the art of Haiti’s tap taps. To read, click here).
This time Pascale was not in town to greet us however her lovely mother was there. We marveled at the gorgeous new products on display in the entryway and shop before heading back to see the artisans and craftsmen and women behind the scenes. I couldn’t resist purchasing a beaded vodou doll for my daughter and a beautiful leather and beaded passport holder for myself. I knew that would be an instant conversation starter while traveling!
Much of Pascale’s work is inspired by Haitian Vodou. In 2003, she launched her own brand of leather accessories, “Pascale Théard Créations”, with the logo Vèvè, the ultimate emblem of vodou art. It reminds me of a heart which makes me adore the logo even more.
Her workshop is just as beautiful as the rest of the studio. There are two separate rooms. One where the woman work creating the painstakingly delicate beadwork and another larger room where craftsmen work on the leather goods. Artisanal techniques used for hundreds of years are still employed in the crafting of all the products.
“In the manufacture of our accessories, the hand of man is our most precious tool. Each craftsman puts in the piece that he shapes much of his time, his know-how and above all his passion. That is why we say that our creations have a soul. They are not simple objects but the fruit of a wonderful human adventure.” -Pascale Théard
In the beading workshop, we received a demonstration on how the beadwork is made for Pascale’s new line of summer leather and beaded sandals.
Besides the showroom and workshop, we also saw a staging area for some of Pascale’s home decor products. I can only imagine having a dining room that looked like this one. Amazing!
Perhaps my most favorite room of all in the entire studio is Pascale’s office. Here is where her incredible imagination, artistic creativity and inspiration are compiled into one large open space. Jars of colorful beads purchased in Paris line the wall as well as tons of local artwork. It is a magical place!
Not only is Pascale a world renown designer, she is also a highly esteemed community arts activist. Pascale had a very influential role in the redesign and redevelopment of the metal artisan district of Croix-des-Bouquets. She personally met with each artisan and helped design the beautiful metal signs and lampposts outside of each workshop.
I wish Pascale would have been in town that day. She is such an inspiring woman who has done so much at such a young age to showcase the beauty and culture of Haiti to the world. I will be sure to visit her shop next time I’m Haiti and this time splurge on a beautiful purse!
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