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Friday, June 1, 2012

VIVE LA REVOLOUTION! Paat de Cuir - Marriellaanna Reporting...

paat de Cuir

Paat de Cuir will be holding an ‘At home’  well more an ‘At shop’ on Saturday June 9th from 1-2pm sl  and Saturday June 10th from 12 – 2pm sl.  She will display her products, talk to you about the furniture and even converse in French if you want!

She said just come along for a chat if nothing else and a nice glass of French wine!
Paat has also made a VERY special item for her ‘At home’. I am itching here to tell you all what it is. Suffice to say its linked to this article..I’ll give you a clue though. Bon Appetite!

Paat de Cuir is a bit of a French revolutionary. She doesn’t cook for a start, which in France is almost automatic grounds for sending you straight to the Guillotine, but what she does do and incredibly well, is make period furniture. Her personal revolution in terms of period furniture is that she mixes what are contemporary but luxurious textures with period French furniture creating something special and unique for those who want a period feel with an updated look. Paats furniture is equally at home in a vast gothic pile or renaissance house as it would be in a bright modern apartment.

When I bought a regency house, I looked around for some of the famous names in sl Antiques. I found they were few and far between when I could find them at all and everything tended to be a little repetitive as all the builders tended to share the same sculpts and textures.  Getting something radically different was to say the least an arduous task.

 A trait amongst the great real life furniture makers of the past was the quality of the items they produced.   Most of the stuff I trolled up in market place wasn’t worthy to house my dainty little rococo shoes and big bouffant wig collection. A year later, and I can say with confidence, I’m an authority on period furniture in Second life – It’s been a hideously expensive learning curve. 

But, occasionally..very occasionally I’ll stumble on somebody that has it all going for them.

I met Paat one morning In her furniture shop quite by accident.  I don’t think Paat was in a very talkative mood that morning, she was pretending she couldn’t speak English (no doubt this was because I was being a pest and asking her to modify a perfectly good table! ) Incidentally one of the  best things about Paat is that she will always retexture or modify any item she sells so that it fits in exactly with your home and surroundings. She charges a minimal amount for this and its very Paat that if she likes the project or sees it as a challenge, she probably won’t charge you at all.

Paat pretends she doesn’t like being French and says she’d rather be English, I personally would rather be French, the food is better and they have the Riviera. I can imagine her in a natty beret at the turn of the century in some Parissienne Café with Lautrec and Van Gogh, deep in arty conversation over an absinthe or a coffee..Gauloise in hand between forkfuls of salad nicoise.  She is an artist amongst the best but is barely aware of it.  I say artist because I believe the creation of furniture is very much an art form, especially in sl, quality is as important today as it was in yesteryear. Paats furniture could grace the Louvre.  On a personal note, I feel that we have only begun to see the tip of the iceburg with her creations, to an extent I think she has restrained her creativity in keeping to a heritage theme, because she doesn’t have the confidence in her work she should.  She seeks safety in what she knows but I have a feeling,  it won’t be long till she breaks out into one huge eruption of creative adrenalin fueled flair that will produce more fireworks than Bastille day.  I for one, cannot wait.

Now if you are wondering why there is also a picture of a very large salad somewhere below and not a piece of fine French furniture, that is because Paats speciality in the long tradition of French culinary excellence is her mothers recipe for Salad Nicoise.  It has to be said at this point that the woman confesses she cannot actually cook anything, but I’ve tried the salad and it is superb! The perfect thing for a hot summers day. If like me, you live in England, you will obviously will not know what one of those is.
paat de Cuir
Marriella:  What brought you to second life? Because I like to get the boring questions everybody skips out of the way first.

Paat: When I first joined second life I didn’t really know what to expect, I spent a lot of time exploring , meeting people from all over the world  , the emphasis was on a social aspect of it , Gradually I understood I needed to work in order to spend ,  hence several easy jobs and a very dear person taught me how to build and encouraged me greatly , this creative side became more and more addictive and led me where I am now. That creative aspect developed enabled thanks to SL is  now a vital part.

Marriella:  What inspired you to start creating heritage furniture?

Paat: Interesting question, hard to answer lol . Probably because it was a way of recognizing styles in which I had been brought up and for which I had very little interest until I started building some in SL, and also a wish to show people that we can have classical furniture with very modern trendy fabric or patterns

Mariella:  Generally, are customers 'difficult' or a pleasure to work with?

Paat: Assuredly a pleasure, a pleasure to see them getting the object they really expected, thanking us tons of times . I have never met anyone acting badly in requests or being rude , it is a pleasure because people wish unique items and we cannot always anticipate on people's wishes and cannot display all that we have in our inventories , thanks to their requests we create other works and this is so enriching and varied.

Now let me show you what I mean here. A couple of days ago I found a picture of a dresser I fell in love with..voila as Paat would say,  the dresser!

ONE day later came back to me with this…

I’m so happy with it!

Mariella:  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Paat:  From anywhere , it can be a real pic , an idea , a personal wish to build something which seems to be impossible , I only follow my mind.  I'm into clothes now although I ‘ need’ to create several things at the same time , hence a very messy workshop!   My clothing line cannot be categorized I think , it is a mixture of casual chic clothes , there again it is always pleasant to surprise , to shock , in mixing for example  cut off jeans with a very subtle richly textured top and classy high pumps. There are very talented clothes creators in sl , experts in specific clothes , I'm not trying to follow a trend or to imitate , I make what I'd like to wear myself according to my moods lol

MARIELLA:  How does being french help when designing in sl?

Paat: Actually I'm not sure it helps lol !  I hardly ever mention the fact that I am French , sometimes people come , walk round the shops , talk to me and eventually will ask if I am French... to which I gently nod , always surprised that it can be acknowledged so easily. Of course the fact that I often visited Versailles , Chambord and numerous castles may help in the sense that we are surrounded by antiques hence there is a certain familiarity in building what we know for example in  Louis XV , XVI , Empire & Napoleonic styles/

MARIELLA:   I  have to ask you this, since I adore French food and I’m starving right now. I am also hoping you’ll send me a recipe, but what is your favourite French food?

Paat:  I'm going to disappoint lots of people ! I'm not a good cook at all ! Vinaigrette , sauce , mayonnaise are not my cup of tea lol . I'm a fish lover and a vegetable gardener , organic products ,  my best dish is maybe a fresh tomato with parsley and salade Niçoise !


Salt and freshly ground pepper

fresh green beans, trimmed, blanched, crunchy not raw o r overcooked.

Approx 2/3 to 1 cup salad dressing, such vinegrette, lemon etc.

Large handful of good cherry tomatoes, halved

8 to 10 ounces oil-packed  drained tuna

New potatoes, boiled, cold, handful of. Paats not specific with quantity!

 8 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise

1 can flat anchovy filets in oil, opened and drained just before serving. The French use fresh anchovie fillets but they are hard to get so use the canned ones instead.

1/2 cup black olives

 3 or 4 Tbs. capers

 2 to 3 Tbs virgin olive oil

Red onions finely sliced.

1/4 cup fresh parsley finely chopped

1 Lettuce washed and dried.

Paats instructions were somewhat on the vague side but..basically heap everything into a nice looking pile, cover it in the dressing, garnish with the parsely and serve with rustic french bread, out on your patio, preferably in a vineyard overlooking the unspoilt landscape spread before you and beneath a balmy French afternoon sun.

MARIELLA: What are some of your favourite place in sl?

Paat: There are several gorgeous places in SL , I enjoy going to. Some  famous some not , among the famous ones I love Tempura , Westphalia  and a new sim called Bruxelle which is quite exceptional. These are all worth a visit. And of course..everybody is welcome to come visit my shop and very welcome to come say Bonjour!

MARIELLA:  Are there added difficulties in designing period furniture?

Paat: I think there are indeed. Period furniture can be very detailed and refined, so we need to add ornaments ( difficult to find in SL and if you are not a sculpt maker , which is my case , you happen to give up making what you'd like because it is too different from the original work or too ugly! ) Another concern is that period furniture can be demanding as terms of prims so the challenge is always to create something nice with a minimum of prims. We understand that some customers need modifications to use fewer prims and we modify the pieces when we can, on request, free of charge of course .

MARIELLA:  What is the first thing you ever made and when you look back now,  how bad was it?

Patt: I still do bad things even 4 years after the first “ creation”! But the most significant item was a bathroom if I remember well.  Thom taught me to observe and above all to respect proportions and my first bathroom was so unreal with huge walls and tiny items! I deleted it after some time , being so ashamed lol  At that time sculpts were nearly non-existent and we had  to build every bit with normal prims ( we still do but sculpts are used more frequently now ). If you look closely at pieces of furniture very often you can see enormous legs compared to the top of the table or the armchair so always bear in mind PROPORTIONS!   I must say that it is always nice when people tell us what is wrong with an item , this is always to be seen as a lesson.  Some people have the eye and see straight away a default ! Please tell us , it is not always easy to concentrate on shapes , fabric and dimensions !

MARIELLA:  12 Tell us about your hobbies on sl? In particular the bagpipes!

Paat: I play in a few bands in SL. Two very famous bands called The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Albannach. These were founded a long time ago by Lacy217 Mcluhan , and we have authorization by the RL bands to perform.  Our schedule is busy but don’t hesitate to contact McLuhan or Thom Gravois if you want to book us for an event. Bagpipe with attitude! Rock and traditional tunes! I also play in the Blues Brothers , just call me Jake! (For booking contact Thom Gravois )

Music is an excellent way to meet new people and contribute to an active Second Life.

I can vouch for this, and am shamelessly going to plug Paats band here. Costa Rica sims and Dream seeker Estates recently booked the Red hot chilli Pipers for a gig. The music was stunning, like nothing most people had heard before. Very tribal, very Celtic, very alive and vibrant. We expected that at any moment a few dozen extras from Highlander would appear over the hill, in blue makeup and sporting Tartans.   A few of course turned up having not read the invite properly first and expected the Red Hot Chilli peppers. All I can say is that..they stayed.

Mariella: What do you hope to achieve this year?

Paat: I registered in the  summer of  2007 , & have tried to build every item with love and passion , whether it is furniture , garden accessories , clothes, shoes and bits.  Now I feel an urge to learn how to sculpt ! The arrival of MESH and its possibilities has led me to consider  learning how to make sculpts and this way build exactly what * I* want ( if a patient teacher is reading please , contact me lol )  That would be my goal for the year,  but we know that anything can happen and  who knows what I'll be doing in 3 months'time or where I 'll be.  Better not to consider the future too precisely but rather consider the instant, the present.

MARIELLA:  What is the one thing you have created you are most proud of?

Paat: I am rarely satisfied 100 % and I tend to keep and not release things thinking that what i'm doing is not that interesting compared to other creators' works so it is very hard to find one item  I I'm really pleased with , let's say that I'm gaining confidence and understanding every day but still hard to say.

According to feedback I’ve had from people, they are especially pleased with  items in particular,  the series of coiffeuses dressers and the duo settees.

Personally I'd say that what pleases me most is the feeling of peace  I feel I created  now at my place with my greenhouse and the terraces at the mansion, so probably  my favourite creation is a watering can to water my fragrant honeysuckle !


  1. OMG Patt is the best. Her work in SL is amazing. She is always willing to help you find what you need and her work is great quality. She is the best. Go check out her store.

  2. I have known this fantastic woman, for ages. Her talents know no bounds! You must see her creations for yourself and you too will be instantly smitted by her designs, as the rest of us.

    Great story...I enjoyed it immensely!
    Congratulations Paat!!

  3. I never met a person with so big energy and brain storming. Paat is a very talented person and I am allways surprised by her wonderful creations. With this nice interview, I know more about her. Thank you - Nabrej Aabye

  4. I have known this incredible woman for just over a year and am delighted to see her work appear here!
    My 18th century educational sim is filled with Paat's furniture which looks amazing in both the period buildings and contemporary offices. The range of peices Paat produces just keeps exapnding and I love just walking around looking at her beautiful shops - I always find something new I simply must have.

    Thank you for interviewing Paat, she is a clever and talented person and her creations in SL never cease to amaze me with their quality and affordability - she more than deserves this recognition!

  5. I was wandering through Paat's store a couple of years ago, when she approached me in a most friendly manner asking if I would mind being a model for a picture she was wanting to take of one of her newest creations at the time ... she had 2 ladies already, and needed a third to sit on a group bench. I obliged her, and we had a wonderful fun time. Since then, I have purchased many of her creations, and she has been most obliging on custom requests, always fulfilled promptly. She will gladly give of her time to help with things I don't understand in my own pursuit of creativity in SL, and I feel blessed to call her a friend. It has been delightful to read this interview, and get to know more of her background and aspirations. Thank you.

  6. Paat is one of the most wonderful, delightful, and endearing people in SL - oh, AND one of the very best designers in all of SL! A darling friend and devoted tinkerer, designer and musician extraordinaire! You dont meet people like her very often - so professional yet warm and caring, precise and detailed without a hint of fussiness, particular but not at all pretentious... her craft becomes art because it is made with love! There is one word to describe her and her work at MaMia - EXCEPTIONAL!!! Great article :)))
    Bisous! Oona Riaxik

  7. Paat is a very dedicated creator of furniture,(wish I had a house in SL so I could fill it with her furniture)

    And it doesnt hurt that she is such a nice girl :)


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