Art masters: former students testify
About 149 Masters of Arts, that is, many Students and various paths. They are locksmiths, clothing designers, neighborhood craftsmen and have decided to pursue this program to pass on a rare know-how and sustain an endangered activity. Feedback on the progress and evaluation of this three-year support with three students from previous presentations of the program.
Lisa Bergara, quartermaster, class of 2019: family affair
” Mahila is a traditional stick from the Basque Country, a daily companion of our ancestors. We have kept it in our region and it has become an object of honor. We work with three main materials: medlar wood, kid leather and nickel silver, copper, zinc and nickel alloy.
I have always said that I will not take over the family business. I wanted to travel and work elsewhere, so I went to study in Reims and then to the United States before getting a job in Paris. The restoration of the workshop was carried out very slowly: first I worked on communication, then I learned the art of engraving instead of a master who retired and took this position part-time. My grandfather and mother were getting old, it needed a continuation, and I felt good about the company, so I took it over in 2019.
My Art Master was Xavier Retegui, the oldest of the artisans and versatile, therefore the best candidate to pass on his know-how and the only candidate who knew all the stages of production in a company where everything was so segmented. We are a small family business and Xavier was also employed by my grandfather! He worked for thirty years, so the connections were easy: he tends to share, he likes to teach others, so the transfer happened naturally. The program ended last year and helped guide us in the direction I want the company to take. For example, I was able to learn about the management software that allows us to take orders digitally, whereas before we did it on paper.
I was born in the neighborhood, I definitely have a very personal relationship with it. For me, the transfer of the company is important. We currently have thirty years before retirement. But twenty years from now we have to ask ourselves the question of handing over the know-how and the company to someone who is not looking to turn the neighborhood into a commercial or luxury product. It is also a transfer of mood. »
Cédric Suire, reliever-catcher, Class of 2019: iron will
” I came to the Saint-Jacques Ateliers within the Coubertin Foundation in 2009 as a pensioner trained as a metal fitter. Just this year I took a three-day module in metalworking, one of the locksmithing and metalworking specialties. It’s a practice I didn’t know about, which involves cold working one millimeter thick iron to decorate things like royal gates, stair railings or balustrades on balconies.
I met Serge Pascal there and stayed at his studio in the evening to see how he was doing. It went well between us and at the end of the year I told myself that I would work from site to site with this know-how. I continued the Tour de France des Compagnons for another three years, then I saw Serge again, who suggested that I go back to Fond again.
I then tried taking evening art classes to free up my hand and ended up at the Boulle school where I met Mr. Pradels, a former student who told me about the program and I told myself it was legitimate to apply. For Serge, this was the best recognition he had ever received, as it was the result of his work as a professional by other professionals. What we lacked until now was the transfer time, but we always had the advantage of being together. For us, the goal was to preserve the technique and make it permanent in more modern works. We responded to a project and then documented our recovery in writing. The program also allowed us to go on a study trip to England following in the footsteps of blacksmith Jean Tijou, and having INMA with us opened many doors for us.
After that, my goal is to get a diploma by doing a VAE (validation of experience, editor’s note) with the National Heritage Institute, and then take over from Serge and become a reference in the profession. »
Marie-Pierre Bessac, costume designer, class of 2017: clothing in leather
” My grandmother, a tailor, gave me the clothes virus. When I left my BA I did a BTS in the clothing industry and did modeling and fashion design for another two years because I felt there were strings missing in my bow.
I worked for twenty years at a variety of fairly high-end ready-to-wear brands and also started a small interior design brand and freelanced to help brands develop their collections. It was on one of these missions that I met Christine Leclercq, who told me of her desire to join the company. This project was a perfect match for everything I love and all the know-how I’ve acquired over time. I told myself that if I don’t recover and capture the know-how of the people who knew the heyday of French clothing, a lot will be lost. I felt it was a mission.
The program was perfectly suited to the approach I took when taking the workshop: learning know-how that I could then transfer. There was an upgrade from the stage world, so we had an in-house training program. At Mod’L Scène, we have always had a modern and technical view of our profession and have set up a project to digitize embroidery, paint and patinas to bring a new service to the community. This allows us to have a library of drawings by period and be very responsive to customer requests.
Through this program, I was able to meet other couples who were in other professions but had the same concerns. We helped each other and advised each other, and these are meetings that I would not have had anywhere else. The program finally allowed us to put the transmission project into perspective, question ourselves and ask if we were missing something. Without this monitoring and support, we might not have been able to do all this in three years. »