Karine Dorval – Best Artisan of France for the Beauvais stitch


The Pascal Jaouen School is a breeding ground for talent. After Yann Lagoutte, MOF Beauvais in 2011, it was Karine Dorval’s turn to be named Meilleur Ouvrière de France (Best artisan of France) for the Beauvais stitch in 2015.
Interview with a modest and talented artist!

Interview with Claire de Pourtalès
All photos are from Karin Dorval and are copyright protected – thank you

Demonstrating the Beauvais Stitch

The content of this site is free and is not damaged by un-welcomed publicity. I do this work with love and passion but it requires a lot of time. I would like to continue to offer a wider market to our artists, to show how embroidery is a wonderful art. But I do need a little bit of help. If you feel like it, you can participate with a little donation to help me continue. I will be so grateful! Thank you! Claire

What is your story with embroidery?
Before I was 23 I had never really done needlework, but I always loved beads. In Quimper (Brittany) there was a small bead shop where I went regularly and I made necklaces for all the girls in my family. My pleasure was to mix and sort the beads.
I am from Brittany, and since the age of 7 I have joined a dance circle “Eostiged ar Stangala“.
I was in awe of a dancer who had made her own beaded costume. She gave me my first embroidery lesson when I was 10 (I still have this piece in my archives).

Stitched buttons

My other hobby are flowers. When I was 8, I accompanied my paternal grandmother to a flower art class: I wanted to make it my job.
Instead, I got a degree in accounting, telling myself that I could use it for any job. During my courses, I discovered embroidery with Pascal Jaouen, a revelation.
I started embroidery simply because I wanted to be useful to my dance circle in a way other than dancing.
I took the needle, I left the floral art aside and after 5 years of accountancy in a company, Pascal offered me a job as an embroidery teacher. Everyone thought I was crazy when I quit. But with my parents we opened a bottle of champagne!

Pattern worked with Pierrette Martin

And embroidery becomes a profession
When I started, my friends said to me “You’ve found your smile again, we can see that you like your work very much”.
I found a balance between the lessons and the store because I also have to take care of the purchases of the supplies and the kits that we make. My accounting degree is not useless.

At the embroidery school I have discovered a lot of different techniques. The first years you learn them all, and then you specialize according to your preferences.
I have chosen the Glazig (see our article about this technique from Brittany) because it’s my country… and I’m a bit chauvinistic. But I have also chosen the embroidery hook. Why have I chose the Beauvais stitch rather than the Lunéville or haute couture embroidery? I think it’s the sobriety of the stitch and the pleasure of the sound of the crochet going through a tightly stretched fabric. But it is also my taste for colors. I like to choose my colors – I spend a lot of time choosing them! Finally, there is the challenge of movement: how to give life to a flower when you always use the same thread, the same stitch and you can only play with directions?


The MOF competition – why? How?
I believe that when you learn with a Best Artisan of France (Pierrette Martin) it’s difficult to do otherwise. She knew how to transmit her passion to us (Yann Lagoutte and me). And then I promised a friend that I would take the contest. And maybe I also needed this recognition from the professional world because I am mostly self-taught. I am still in a learning curve on the Beauvais stitch. My difficulty is drawing, it doesn’t come easily to me. In Beauvais I like working with flowers (my other hobby).

Centre of the stole © Bernard Galéron

The competition is two years of our life. After the creation, the realization takes all our free time: no more going out, we can barely see our friends or family, we just work.
After giving your piece you feel alone and idle and you wait. I rearranged my apartment to keep busy. I couldn’t believe it when the results came back.
My competition pieces (there are 4 pieces – a stole, a cell phone case, a glasses case and an evening pouch, all on the theme of Art Nouveau) are at home, stored with my embroidery things . But a professional photographer took a great shot of these 4 pieces for me and this one looks great in my living room.

Centre of the stole, detail © Bernard Galéron

Who are the artists you admire?
Mik Jegou is a Breton painter whom I have known for almost 40 years (we danced in the same group). There is a beautiful collaboration between the work of painting and that of embroidery. I worked on Glazig and Beauvais with him.

I love Art Nouveau, a movement that I discovered with the competition.
I also like a lot Micheau Vernez, a Breton artist.

An anecdote ?
More like a personal pride: my brother asked me to embroider his groom’s waistcoat!

On the steps of the Elysée Palace, Paris.

The groom’s waistcoat
Embroidery step – without painting
Embroidery and painting, a collaboration with Mik Jégou