Handmade rugs have gained popularity on social media since the pandemic. It was especially tufting, carried out using a gun, that attracted attention. Punch needle, a similar practice, requires more patience. The artist Martine Dupuis has made her mark.

Martine Dupuis was introduced to punch needle a little before the pandemic and opened from her studio where she devotes herself largely to this art. The artist recently exhibited her creations at SOUK, an event in which she participated for the second time.

The punch needle is a relief embroidery technique created using a punch. By stitching on the reverse side of a canvas, we obtain small loops of wool, which can then form a pattern. Martine Dupuis creates small and especially large rugs with this technique. “There’s no one who wants to make a big punch needle rug, it’s just me,” the artist says with a laugh.

Each rug requires more than a hundred hours of work, an artisanal work that the artist compares to a meditative practice.

Her journey has led her to dabble in a bit of everything: visual arts, graphics and even catering. She worked in an agency for a while as a graphic designer, but knew she wanted to “get back to art.”

Having always had a more formal practice, playing with colors and patterns, she found what she wanted in rugs. “I was looking for a unique product to bring my whole world to,” she explains. The rug perfectly combines craftsmanship, design and art, three important spheres for the artist.

Making handmade rugs faster is possible with tufting. According to Martine Dupuis, her rugs could be made in less than a week with this technique, which involves using a gun to embroider wool. But the artist prefers to take his time to create his works.

The practice of tufting has exploded on social media in recent years; The hashtag tufting has over 4.7 billion views on TikTok. It was Generation Z who particularly developed this love of handmade rugs, injecting them with bright colors and crazy patterns.

“Since tufting, there are a lot of carpets on the market,” says Martine Dupuis. There is great demand for this decorative object, according to her, but those made by hand, and even more so in punch needles, are not accessible to all budgets.

The artist works in series, according to his current inspirations. For her series “Imaginary world in an overlooking view”, she immersed herself in her memories of her childhood region, Abitibi-Témiscamingue. “These are fuzzy memories,” she says. I wonder ‘What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What color emerges?” » There we find works with organic patterns, in colors reminiscent of sunsets and lakes.

Martine Dupuis also pursues her research through other techniques, including braided carpets, and also through other mediums with digital works. These offer her another way to explore her world in a more spontaneous way than carpets, she says.

The artist believes that his favorite technique, the punch needle, is accessible to everyone. Kits for beginners are sold in certain specialized stores, an ideal way to learn this textile art. The artisanal production of carpets is also increasingly recognized, confirms Martine Dupuis, who hopes to soon be able to collaborate with architects or design firms to promote her art.