#Stéphanie JacquinAngora rabbit breeder and craftswoman
From enduring passions and skill, destiny is born
Sometimes, life hangs by a thread, and what we do with this thread does too, in this case woollen thread! It took a number of years before Stéphanie Jacquin found Ariadne’s thread, the lifeline guiding her to the essence, her essence.
Interwoven over the years into this thread of destiny is knowledge, creation, and an unconditional love for a profession that has become a true way of life.
Stéphanie Jacquin was working as a philosophy teacher when the stars aligned, and she decided to change course to become an Angora rabbit breeder. This doesn’t just happen out of the blue; with her childhood affection for rabbits, a passion for knitting passed down by her mother, and a certain philosophical outlook, the day came when these forces converged and her destiny became clear.
After researching, Stéphanie contacted an Angora rabbit breeder in the Drôme region who agreed to teach her the rudiments of this rare profession on the eve of his retirement before handing her part of his fluffle (group of rabbits).
© Phil’Angora / Stéphanie Jacquin
Rabbit Breeder: A Rare Profession
Cuniculture for the experts (and crossword fanatics), rabbit breeders for everyone else, is a lesser-known profession with currently only about twenty such breeders in the whole of France, and Stéphanie Jacquin is the only one in the Rhône-Alpes region.
At her home in Groisy, reclassified as a breeding smallholding, Stéphanie specialises in Angora rabbits and has around sixty animals whose long fibres, known as ‘wool’, she uses to transform into yarn.
This wool’s natural qualities give the clothes and accessories designed by Stéphanie very special characteristics. The wool is wispy soft to the touch, cosy warm, thermoregulates, and is light as a feather; Angora wool is a highly prized material.
A rabbit moults naturally every 100 days, this is when Stéphanie tenderly combs each rabbit one-by-one to collect the soft raw material. Each rabbit loses 800g to 1kg of wool per year, Stéphanie’s harvest enables her to collect around 50kg of wool every year. Then she takes her Angora wool to one of only two remaining spinning mills in France, Fonty in La Creuse, to be spun and dyed to produce this delicate yet volatile yarn.
Next, these soft, subtly coloured gossamer skeins are transformed by Stéphanie into inspired creations.
© Phil’Angora / Subtly coloured gossamer skeins
Creator of unique clothes and accessories
From this passion for knitting inherited from her mother, Stéphanie creates a variety of clothes and accessories with this extraordinary yarn: sweaters and gilets, snoods and scarves, gloves and mittens, hats and headbands, and even little slippers for babies. A myriad of pure delights.
To help her in this creative work requiring both skill and time – 40 to 70 hours are needed for one sweater alone – Stéphanie can count on an extra set of expert hands to assist in her production, those of her mum’s!
Her creations can also be the result of special requests as Stéphanie delights in taking on one-off commissions. Stoles and boleros for fanciful wedding outfits, gifts for newborns wrapped in softness, or even more eccentric ideas, Stéphanie considers all requests.
Stéphanie’s quality creations are either made with 100% Angora wool, or mixed with 20% Merino wool for certain products, and are all made with exquisite attention to detail, timeless beauty, and love.
To discover and learn about this specific skill in more depth, Stéphanie opens the doors to her breeding farm from Friday afternoon to Sunday every weekend in December. The perfect opportunity to unlock the secrets of this fascinating profession, and to find a unique delicate Christmas gift.
© Phil’Angora / Mother-daughter collection
- © Phil’Angora
Journalist: Gaëlle Tagliabue
Translation: Kate Dawson