• (c) Valerie
  • valérie 1(c) Valérie Neunlist
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  • val2(c) Valèrie Neunlist

The many lives of Valérie N

“What really interests me is guiding people to find a career path, a path of life”. Valérie is not only concerned about stretching time or designing furniture.

by William Franck

Valérie Krummenacker-Neunlist, Strasbourg

Actually, I have an education in theater and literature… a master’s degree in theater studies and professional experience in stage play,  I was part of two theater companies. And then I started a doctorate in comparative literature studies… and afterwards I dedicated myself to my children for three years. Finally, I have been working for an Institute of Adult Continuing Education for about 4 to 5 years where I offered classes in communication, management and conflict prevention. We also had professional preparation programs for adults who wanted to change their professional career or who were just about to start it. Though I never got a special education for that. It all happened quite spontaneously…

Very, very fast… after two or three months, I got offered to lead the communication workshops and classes in business and communication. I started to design my own training modules and to make propositions and then one thing led to another.

Since then I changed my education job…  I didn’t want to be depend on a structure anymore. But at the same time I didn’t want to work on a temporary basis… So I decided to go for it and start my own business.

What really interests me is guiding people to find a career path, a path of life.

…the creative process…

When I was working in the theater world, I had this idea of a literature café. So, I was already thinking about setting up a place of exchange by my own means, with my own furniture.

Its been two years now that I am here. In this studio. It’s a project that I have had for a longtime… because it’s a passion. I have always loved to paint, to transform objects, to go on bargain-hunts and move on to more creative aspects, like the work with colors, furniture collections… Thanks to this place I could start to really do some work. 

So, I needed to find a good place for my activities. For a start, I didn’t want to be alone… so I was looking for a place with a friend who was working with fabrics… our activities were pretty contradictory though. While her working space is pretty neat and structures, there’s times when I make a lot of mess and it gets dirty. Like when I sand my furnitures or when I work with pigments. It’s very volatile. So we had to find a place with two different rooms. And then, I’ve always had this vision of sharing a space to show our work and to make it a place of exchange and cultural curiosity… So there you go. Moreover, we wanted to have a place that allows us to welcome visitors and customers.

I don’t need a job title to do what I do. I don’t want to limit myself to anything… the creation and fabrication of furnitures and objects. And space planning. It’s evolving according to our desires and wishes. That’s what drives my business…  also, it is evolving according to personal encounters – with other people who we discover or who come to us…

And then, it’s true that I probably should have taken the risk of pursuing my creative career instead of juggling between two things. Now I don’t really have a choice anymore… sometimes I would like to dedicate myself to the creative process only.

It’s not a given though! I have to invest much more time… I have to be more present and spend more energy on creation and distribution. And I need to open up to others. We are all interested in keeping an open mind, in terms of collaborating with others and remaining curious about what others do… everybody has his own ideas and sometimes they turn out to be even better when you refine and complete them together.

If I had a regular basic income… I would find a recipe to create more time! Because often what we are missing, to do what we would like to do, is time. Time can be our enemy. My days are too short compared to my projects. I would like to dedicate more time to do research, to do creation or to the work on colors. I have a family life, two kids who I love… so sometimes it would be nice to take more time for my creative work. I could follow my intuitions without being forced to interrupt the creative process.

For the moment, I am pretty happy about how things are going. It’s those «encounters along the way», with people who are passionate about what they do and who are interested in sharing their experiences. This is a genuine pleasure. Encounters with people who have been working a lot and broadened their horizons, who sometimes had difficulties but moved on and therefore like to offer their ideas.

I have another project… But for that I still have to shape my identity. I have been thinking about it for years. I want to create a little company designed to integrate women into male-dominated professions... like carpentry, cabinet work, metalworking, etc. That’s what I am thinking about doing. But this presumes that I develop a project to share with others and being able to offer them a job.

I’d probably do it, if I had the chance.

If you stay in Alsace, you can meet her at the exhibitions linked below:

http://www.lacabanedejeanne.fr/actu/

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