From as early as Em LeMieux can remember, she has had a fascination with history and with the clothing and fabrics of the past. Her love of period fashion eventually inspired her to pursue a career as a costume designer and seamstress. It wasn't until she moved to the Lafayette area from California, however, that she started to appreciate traditional crafts as a true art form. Her background includes theater as well as modern visual art, but over the years she has become more interested in sewing and making things.
LeMieux came to Louisiana to fully immerse herself in the culture she missed out on while growing up in California, and it didn't take her long to jump in with both feet. She was profoundly inspired by what she saw and decided she wanted to learn traditional arts and crafts --LeMieux wondered, "What does it feel like to make something by hand just like people would have done 200 years ago?" She became particularly interested in Acadian textiles, so she began learning from elder masters of the craft. In addition to spinning and weaving, Le Mieux also creates reproductions of clothing from the 18th and 19th centuries, including some hand-sewn garments. Because of her interest in Acadian and Creole culture, she has learned to play the accordion and is becoming fluent in French, having acquired other traditional skills such as palmetto basketry, traditional doll making and open hearth cooking.
LeMieux considers herself a revivalist because she has picked up traditional arts and crafts as an adult after having received formal training in the fine arts, but intends to pick up where the last few generations have left off and pass along what she has learned.