MY NIGHT WITH THE ROPE ARTIST OF WONDER
+ EXTRA special interview from Sauvage herself.
I was slightly apprehensive when I rocked up at a fabulously 'out of my league' establishment in central London at 11pm on a spring Saturday evening. I was wearing slightly dishevelled, but poetic stockings that I had bought for a Halloween party. Melting around my body was a transparent lace dress my mother had added to the fancy dress pile when we were kids. I had done some highlighter which had streamed further down my cheekbones from the moist heat of the tube. I was a little shaky and my décolletage was flushing.
I normally arrive somewhere about 20 minutes before I have been told to meet. I leave 10 minutes for getting lost and 10 minutes for a check-in with my armpits, face and any possible London debris hanging onto my body (stains included). So, once I had found this fabulous establishment, I went to the toilet which was like a nymphs grotto. I looked at myself and all those anxieties; the stockings, dressing up dress and flushed chest, looked beautiful and it would only look more magical as the night rolled on. I took on the form of some sort of Queens maid who had been told to dress up for a masquerade and she knew she was going to meet the sexy page there. My confidence, which was much needed to blight my slight apprehension, had already been enhanced. I looked ready to be tied delicately like Marie Antoinette's sweet chocolate packages. I was ready to be tied, and just as I came out of the nymphs loo, I saw her; Marie Sauvage.
Cut to a year ago. My Instagram algorithm is perfection on my WASITGOODFORYOU. 90 percent of my suggested are empowered, educative and illuminative platforms that sexpress, sexistentialise or represent the erotica/sensual in a way that is progressive and inclusive. My other 10 percent? That's reserved for memes of all sorts and maybe the odd Rottweiler page. There, with the 90 percent, I found MARIE SAUVAGE. I spent about three hours (no waste of time whatsoever) ,as if I was Aladdin, finding out about this ethereal and talented creature, picking up her jewels and finding the alcoves she exists within. She, to the happiness of my pride, was doing the same with WASITGOODFORYOU and we collided and slid into each others DM's. From then, I became intoxicated by everything she does and was lucky enough to spend a night with her this spring to get tied myself in a hotel room.
This interview is about her and I think you would prefer to dribble. So, let me tell you a little about her, before you get to hear from the legend herself.
For all you Londoners who are curious and inspired by Marie Sauvage, from the 7th to the 30th July she will be in London town. Check the bottom of the page for more info. Her and I may be doing a little special poetic collaboration so catch me and Marie in corset and rope.
WHO AND WHAT?
Marie Sauvage is a Shibari artist. What is Shibari? It is rope art that sculpts and transforms the body, and doesn't necessarily have to be sensual. It's roots are within Japanese history and after the Samurai era (as said on Marie's website): 'This intricate form of binding evolved over the centuries to have erotic derivations, which eventually expressed itself in theatrical performances and paintings in Japan. It’s popularity finally proliferated with the internet connecting bondage enthusiasts worldwide. They thought themselves strange and unique with their rope fantasies, and now the world has realized this visceral desire to be bound is an universal yearning. Whether its for meditative, aesthetic or erotic reasons, Shibari is a powerful tool to find the pathway to one’s inner self.'
Marie has always been interested in the human form, after immersing herself in life drawing at Parson's Paris 'school of design and art'. In 2017 she journeyed to Japan to be taught by the master Hajime Kinoko. After working with him in galleries and spreading the art form at events, she became her own master, leaving behind the ideas of submissiveness or domination. Her mastery instead; is about safety, consent, vulnerability and being authentic. She is a truly very special. Read the interview underneath to understand all her processes behind the magic.
I was melancholic to leave her by the end of our night together but I felt an empowered sparkle and had the sensual stains of rope around my body that I could go home with.
How would you best describe ‘Marie Sauvage’ ?
''Marie Sauvage is my stage name, a name in the same spirit of Josephine Baker. She is also an American woman of color who came to Paris to express herself as an artist. Her banana costume was meant as satire, commenting on a society that othered her, as an exotic fetish from what was then considered a less civilized minority of society. This kind of view, becoming less explicit over the century since is still something people of color face, and something I faced. Marie and Sauvage is a juxtaposition of two ideologies, a collision of different groups describing a multi cultural, multi racial human who is a mix of European and “otherness”, the Sauvage part of the name referring to a woman practicing an Japanese art, although respected as highly technical and aesthetic that is considered taboo and outside the cultural norm of society. ''
What would you tell someone who has never been tied or watched someone get tied?
''I would tell a person who has never experienced Shibari that there are many ways to experience and practice rope that are not necessarily rooted in the practice of BDSM, that rope can be a practice of mindfulness and tantric connection, that the process of surrendering to ropes can be poetic, like falling in love, that it requires complete trust in the Shibari artist tie with detailed attention and dedicated attentiveness to the others physical and emotional well-being. This intense mindfulness between the two partaking in this rope dance is where the magic lies, because it’s beautiful to watch two people create a safe space for trust and vulnerability to flourish. ''
Is working in this industry ‘all pleasure’ or does it come with disadvantages ?
I live in the realm of extremes; the pleasure of experiencing the most intimate sides of their mind, but also the projection of peoples fear and insecurity on me. Revealing someone in their vulnerable states, as I do, is a responsibility one must take with seriousness through a rope journey. I act as a guide.
What does the ability to be sexually open mean to you?
Being sexually open means to be unafraid of completely accepting yourself and also unafraid of other people’s judgement. It means getting closer to your truest nature, and knowing yourself intimately. The more you know yourself the more you have more fulfilling relationships with other peoples problems. It’s not easy, especially having such a public image associated with sexuality, I get a lot of criticism for being so open. But do I really want to be someone I am not, to make others like me? If i do, then I’m not being authentic with myself!
What does the future look like for you and your ropes ?
''I’m really enjoying creating my own productions around rope based on film adaptions and specific fantasies. I am working on building a theatre company around immersive theatrical events. I love to work with musicians to create improvised music for performances, build unique set designs and engage my audiences full senses in the experience, like creating special lighting or filling the atmosphere with memorable fragrances. I want to create unforgettable evenings that completely immerse people in my vision of Shibari! I’m excited to see how it develops over the next couple of years. ''
A special thanks to Marie Sauvage for allowing me to interview her.
She is a busy woman, travelling the globe with her ropes.
SEE MORE ALWAYS: