Sculpting artist


From Nathalie Derville
to Atéhel

Pathway of an artist

Nathalie Derville, or Atéhel as she is known in artist circles, was born in 1964 in a town in Brittany called Vannes. She now divides her time between Paris and the Limousin. In the 1980s, she studied at the French National School for Decorative Arts in Limoges, where she developed a passion for ceramics and enamel. Despite this, she chose to leave the college and work for a porcelain manufacturer. During her free time, she got permission from the head of the workshops to use the kilns to fire her own porcelain creations and earthenware moulds. In the early 1990s, by then a mother of two, she took up teaching in a secondary school, produced an animated film, created workshops, put on a show for children telling stories on stage… During this time, Nathalie rediscovered a love of magic, dreams and fairy tales that dated back to her childhood.

Birth of a collection

In the 2000s, Nathalie went back to the manufacturer to recover the moulds and set up a little studio in Paris, in a street called Rue Rousselet, where she created her own pieces. A meeting with storied sculptor Marie-Jo Bourron proved to be a turning point. Together, they went to foundries and Nathalie helped Marie-Jo in her welding, while the two of them also attended anatomy workshops. As a sculptor, Nathalie loves working with earth and the sensations it creates. Once the modelling is finished and the plaster model is done, she sets about sculpting. She feels the earth in her hands, and at that point, technique and expertise take over. These are the stages that the artist holds dear, polishing the plaster to remove the traces of her handiwork. Her initial castings were made at the Hôtel de la Monnaie in Paris, while now she works at Fusion (a foundry in Clermont-Ferrand). And this is where her “Myths and Civilisations” collection first began to see the light of day.

Myths and Civilisations

Nathalie prefers to let the winds of inspiration carry her towards new horizons. As such, there are no recurrences and no series – each story is a new one which begins afresh. Myths and civilisations come knocking at her door, leading her to research and dig for meaning before any creation begins. Her pseudonym as an artist is Atéhel – the name of a fairy she dreamt up during her childhood after being fascinated by the blue fairy in Pinocchio and whom she longed to receive a visit from. Atéhel the artist meanwhile has become quite the story-teller…

Myths & civilizations

Discover the collection


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