From Hand to Hand: Hélène Blouin Furthers the Fléché Tradition

by | Mar 24, 2021 | Profiles

In a programme inaugurated in 2020, the Conseil québécois du patrimoine vivant (Québec Council for Living Heritage) awarded the title of Master of Living Traditions to five “outstanding artists and craftspeople who master a practice or technique passed down from generation to generation” (PDF). Among them was a flécheuse—someone who practices the art of finger-braiding ceintures fléchées: Hélène Blouin. I wondered: What does the path to becoming a Master of Living Tradition look like? I reached out to Hélène to find out.

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Josiane Richer dit Laflèche
Josiane Richer dit Laflèche

Text and textile are the main threads that have run throughout Josiane Richer dit Laflèche’s life. She spins those threads herself, and she knits, weaves and sews them into the unique fabric that best fits her life with ME/CFS.
After studying anthropology and specializing in ethnolinguistics where, again, texts and textiles meet, she braided her interests into a freelance career. She works with words––both hers and those of others––in various ways, including in her capacity as the agent of writer and storyteller Éric Gauthier. Josiane is now indulging her inner language and culture geek by spinning a new yarn aimed at French learners, providing them with fun listening practice through a podcast called Your French-Speaking Friend.