With her local school in Cotances not offering any artistic courses, Catelin first studied literature. She then studied Fine Art at the University of Upper Brittany where she graduated in 1997. During this course she became acquainted with a fellow pupil who had been to the Ecole Estienne. Her passion stirred and with boundless enthusiasm she subsequently went to the Ecole Estienne. During her years there, Catelin was taught many art forms but it was engraving which attracted her most.
After graduating with honours in the year 2000, Catelin took up a number of jobs in the field of engraving until she sent an open job application letter to the French state printers in 2003. A few months later she was asked for an interview, when the printers were looking for a new engraver. Catelin became employed by the printers in January 2004 and during the following two years was taught the art of engraving by Claude Jumelet and Jacky Larrivière.
Catelin's first engraving for Monaco also dates from 2004, when she engraved the non-postal label with the monogram of Princess Grace of the miniature sheet issued to mark her 75th birth anniversary.
Catelin's first actual stamp engraving was the 'Rutile' stamp for the annual mineral series issued in the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. Until 2006, the series was the brainchild of engraver Pierre Forget, but after his death, the postal authorities asked Catelin if she wanted to submit a design, which was quickly accepted. Working for and at the French state printers, Catelin found it of enormous advantage being able to closely follow the whole printing process. It meant she could quickly learn what worked and what didn't, how to solve engraving problems, how to choose the best colours, etc. Five years long Catelin would engrave the annual addition to this long-running series.
The Marianne design sometimes gets used on commemorative stamps as well, and the first stamp to include the Marianne et la Jeunesse design was a stamp marking the Paris stamp show of November 2013. It is the green version but now used as a normally denominated stamp.
Catelin has said that her inspiration for her work lies both in the classics and the more modern art scene. She loves the work of the masters of old, such as Dürer and Vermeer, but is also fascinated by what digital art can accomplish. In her work, she enjoys the tension of how the traditional art form of hand engraving can be preserved in an ever more digital printing process.
Most exclusively, Catelin also engraved that famous French airmail stamp from 1936, known as the Burelé. This, however, was not issued as a regular stamp, but only made available as a limited edition sheet in the Treasures of Philately series.
You will find Elsa Catelin's database HERE.