What can’t she do? Meet International Artist and Super-Woman Marie-Anne Vorlet!

Marie-Anne Vorlet was born in the French part of Switzerland and raised as well as schooled in the German part of same country. After high school, no longer able to numb the urge to travel and experience the world, she looked for ‘portable’ work. She spent her first years as a working girl as a nanny in England, Cameroon (West Africa) as well as in Switzerland. During those much enjoyed years she developed a yearning for more knowledge which surprised her as she remembered school as a place of boredom. After earning the ‘Matura’, the Swiss school diploma required to enter any of the countries universities, a short detour to medical school helped Vorlet figure out what she did not want in life. It also allowed her to finance her years studying math, physics and astronomy. Working night shifts at the major teaching hospital in Zurich, teaching math as well as Tao Yoga on the side made ends meet. After these quite long years the travel bug hit again. Lucky enough to find a very flexible employer in one of the two big Swiss banks as well as work as a freelance translator, Vorlet explored parts of Europe, America, Nepal, Hawaii and South Africa. Crafting, especially sewing and knitting has been a hobby since age five, a year working in the shop of a avant-garde dress-maker in the late eighties, gave her the possibility to have a close look behind the scene. Statement: “No matter what I am doing, I am at my very best when dealing with a situation that is completely new to me. And I do love to create some

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Interview With Marie-Anne Vorlet

by Alyssa Laube  

About: Marie-Anne Vorlet, born and raised in Switzerland, is a woman of many titles – from world traveler and volunteer to artist and entrepeneur! For more information on Marie, visit:

http://www.thetinybigbag.net/MAVBio.htm

 Having grown up in the beautiful country of Switzerland, were you influenced by your roots? How so? 

Yes. I think my roots have indeed influenced me, especially the French Suisse part of them, as well as our beautiful landscapes. The Swiss “Frenchies” take life easier and appreciate beauty and the arts a lot!

You’ve spent a lot of time travelling in your life. How did this change you, both as a person and an artist?

Travelling is definitely my bliss in life. I love to see new landscapes and colors, taste new foods, and meet people with different ideas. Travelling and volunteering in Africa made me appreciate the many possibilities we have and tend to take for granted in the rich countries!

How does Vancouver compare to other cities that you have lived in?

I love and appreciate the proximity of big city-life and nature that Vancouver offers. It makes it a part of my “all-time favorite cities” list, which includes Zurich and Cape Town for the same reasons.

Have you always had an adoration for new experiences? 

Yes – I actually had a longing for the “new and exotic” since Primary School, which, as a child, made me devour books with a passion.

As a person who has tried many different occupations, do you feel that they were necessary in order to find your true passion?

Definitely! Nothing compares to personal experience.

What do you consider to be that passion?

Art, making new ideas work, i.e. creating my own NGO: www.educationwithouborders.ch, which was inspired by my Canadian friends. After volunteering regularly at and supporting my friend Heather Reynold’s orphanage, ‘God’s Golden Acre’ in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, for years, I strongly believe that education is a door opener!

How many languages do you speak?

Four: Swiss German, German, French and English – I have plans for learning Zulu as soon as I have more free time.

How was it beneficial to be multilingual, professionally? 

It has been very beneficial, especially in Zurich because this city is quite international in its focus.

What is your favorite place that you have been to or lived in?

Namibia – the desert colors are just divine! Paris: fashion, art, food – need I say more?

Many of your paintings focus largely on shape and color. Where did this fascination come from? 

It still surprises me how a different color can “change” a shape, it just never gets boring.

You have quite the variety of hobbies! Which ones do you still practice today?

Traveling and spending as much time outdoors, preferably in nature that has not been altered by humans.

Are there any that you would like to explore?

Yes, learning to fly!

A recent project of yours is The Tiny Big Bag, described as “The ultimate fashionable tote handbag (which) folds into handkerchief size.” Where did you get the inspiration for this idea? 

Moving to Vancouver many years ago (in 2000) from a country with very strict laws concerning the environment I was shocked to see that plastic bags were still free and used in enormous numbers in Canada. My cultural-shock-question was: “Would you like this double bagged?”


For original ideas such as The Tiny Big Bag, do you prefer to manage them individually or cooperatively with others? 

I would love to take a highly motivated partner on board – someone who has strengths I do not have myself!

Looking back on your journey, do you have any favorite/least favorite memories?

My favorite memories include the first time I saw the ocean (all the space!) after so many mountains at home. And, of course, the first trip I took out of Europe at the age of 17, which led me to Cameroon. Since then I am hooked! Africa is still my favorite continent!

Is there any point in your development as an artist that you regret or cherish most? 

I have few regrets in life! I cherish the fact that I am mostly self-taught in regards to my artwork. Curiosity is what keeps me going in life.

What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s Art Expo? 

The chance to meet people, see a lot of other peoples artwork and the possibility to show my work in a great location at Science World!

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