A poetic intertwining of remnants—lingering memories, books read, paintings remembered, the hint of a new season in the air—this is where my inspiration lies. In my work, the resonance of literature, flora, and aesthetics across Francophone Louisiana and France countries and cultures is a recurring motif. This resonance has given rise to an abstract narrative, developed to guide the story of the collection. In collaboration, I’ve partnered with a dear friend, the writer Kristin Sanders, to compose a series of original prose poems, drawing on our mutual interest and immersion in Francophone literature. 

Our muse? Colette, whose books and life have long inspired our own: “Her life story glamorous, her writing evocative, an ikebana, floral offerings…” I met her, Colette, at the Grand Palais. When passing Penn’s Collette, our worlds and words became a wellspring guiding the attributes of MARSE. Thinking of the layers within Colette’s writing and in my own designs, my work is 

Embodied in an image made impure by shapes and light, the elements grown indistinct, but still the scent, still that memory.

This, I believe, is the perfect explanation of the MARSE aesthetic. My other muse, of course, is the MARSE woman, for whom this collection may evokinge an echo of something from theher past much like a scent recalls a flood of entangled memories, the smell of perfume worn in another country, a secret childhood spot outdoors where she ?dreamed of the beauty that was to come...

I hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt of our collaboration, an assemblage of texts, words, and concepts that inspire us, and an introduction to MARSE:

Perhaps you’re thinking, as you tremble on the doorstep, “It’s just an old house—” Climbing trees, leaving the overripe windfalls in the orchard on the ground, space to explore the river, with its weirs, bridges, places to swim. But come in. Let me explain.

And then Colette, daughter of Demeter: quintessential Frenchwoman, poet, gardener, collector of paperweights and sensual pleasures. The most formal part of the garden a hedge, then a row of magnolias, their silvery bark shining out against the backdrop of dark yew. Like Persephone, Colette wears two guises: daughter, queen. The border between the two, comprised of roses, hydrangeas, winter-flowering honeysuckle, so late winter onwards, the garden awash with flowering bulbs— and other restless ghosts. The mysterious and incomprehensible...
— An excerpt of an original work by Courtney Marse and Kristin Sanders
Courtney Marse