Dear Jean-Michel Delisle,Dear Marie-Hélène Frémont,Dear President of Vacheron-Constantin,Ladies and Gentlemen,

Art crafts are based on a secret alchemy: they translate both
of ancient know-how, rare and precious talents that are
artistic productions what are the “places of memory” for our
cultural universe. But they are also inscribed in the present, in the
contemporary creation, and they represent for the future a deposit of
to our country, to something that
I would call French grace, indispensable and even strategic, to
the time of globalized production and interchangeable objects.
I am delighted to be with you to launch the Journées des Métiers d'art
2011 and to inaugurate this beautiful exhibition «Talents d'exception», which
showcases the skills of the Masters of Art, their students, and
those of the great craftsmen of the Manufacture Vacheron-Constantin,
illustration, since 1755, in the field of watchmaking of the
the attention and patience required in these areas of excellence and
refinement. I thank this great factory for having accepted
be one of the main partners of these Days alongside
Workshops of Art of France and Chambers of Crafts and Crafts, and
to have contributed to the success of this event.
I would like to address the Masters of Art and their students, who, alongside
Master craftsmen of the Watchmaking Manufacture, exhibit their
productions and demonstrations of their know-how.
This beautiful place is quite designated to host these objects
and introduce the Parisian public to these creations from
your inventiveness and technical mastery. The City of Architecture and
Heritage is the crucible of the meeting between the representations the
most prestigious of our heritage and the most trendy
contemporary architecture, combining as you do
tradition and innovation.
If our country can indeed preserve, restore and enhance its
heritage and the treasures of its museum collections, it
to the artisans of art that you represent. We are
examples in this area, be it the restoration of the grids of the
Palace of Versailles, that of the Parliament of Brittany or the House
Nîmes square, to mention only a few recent achievements. In
the transmission of this know-how is the very preservation of our
heritage and our collections that is at stake. Art masters express
with grandeur, intelligence, inspiration and rigour a certain idea of
art. They translate a certain ability in the implementation of the
practices by which man assures his hold on the world», to resume
the expression of the great historian Georges Duby.
Since 2002, the Journées des Métiers d'Art have become the rendezvous
French crafts and heritage. The 3,000 workshops
which will open their doors to the public this first weekend of April
discover fields as diverse as leather goods,
jewellery, cabinetry, boutonnerie, cutlery, gilding, or
still basketry. The crafts show that the heritage is inscribed
always in a present and that a contemporary practice preserves the
safeguard. I don’t forget that these trades also contribute to
other sectors of cultural life, in the field of music, the
Live show, but also book and publishing: from the luthier to the bookbinder,
through the corset, they participate fully in the quality of the
performing arts.
The Journées des Métiers d'art are one of the translations of the policy
ambitious in favour of the art professions decided by François FILLON,
following your report, Senator Catherine Dumas.
With my colleagues Frédéric LEFEBVRE and Luc CHATEL, we have
entrusted the organization to the new National Institute of Crafts (INMA),
which I would like to thank in particular for bringing together
all public and private partners involved. In accordance with
the recommendations of Senator Catherine Dumas’s report, we
have decided to make these Days annual meetings, a
unique opportunity offered to all to go everywhere in France to meet
artists in their workshops and discover their gestures, their
know-how, their creations.
Faced with the challenges of matter, like a Leonardo da Vinci,
the craftsman is an engineer as much as an artist. Sometimes invested by the
new technologies, the workshops of artisans are the laboratories
of the future. Crafts are indeed a sector in perpetual
evolution. They combine work on traditional materials with work on
new materials. New technologies have been introduced
in many workshops.
And I am delighted to know that generation of the virtual world, the one that is
the “screen society” is experiencing a real need for a return to
materials. More and more young people are seduced by the
craft sector, which offers them a professional framework
This is reflected in the steady increase in
number of applicants to applied arts schools.
During these days, school students, high school students and
will be able to discover the various courses of training in the arts;
more than 80 schools and training centres will welcome young people and their
parents wishing to find out about the training offer.
A project on initial and continuing training in crafts comes
to be opened by the National Institute of Crafts, in connection with
all the partners involved. It is a matter of taking stock
and proposals for reform in order to adapt training to developments
of these professions, which are increasingly open to design and the arts
digital. As you know, I bring a special interest to the trades
I wanted a proactive policy to relaunch these crafts.
I wanted you to have the opportunity to train
successively several students so that perpetuate and reinvent themselves
your exceptional talents. This mission of transmission that is
is fully in line with the training policy
Ministry of the Arts, notably through the network
art schools.
In this regard, I would like to commend all the institutions that
depend on my Ministry, in particular the Monuments Centre
the Cité de la Céramique de Sèvres, the National Monument,
but also many national museums for their commitment to
this pedagogical work in favour of the transmission of expertise and
technical gestures, today inseparable from innovation and
search for new forms of expression.
I hope that at the next Crafts Days in 2012,
more and more art workshops open their doors to the public, but also
monuments, museums, art centers, operas, theatres, libraries
so that the public, and especially young audiences, will discover the
know-how of these professions. Finally, several European
the Institut National des Métiers d'Art (INMA) have shown a strong interest
for these Days; therefore, with them, we have decided to
create in 2012 the European Days of Crafts. At the time of
global production and interchangeable objects, this new horizon
this “new frontier” of our commitment, must be
placed at the service of the quality of productions, know-how, in
other terms at the service of cultural diversity.
I know there is still a lot of work to be done in this area, including
to promote them to the public. I hope that
Art masters can have a real status and that is put in
recognition at the end of their training cycle initiated by the
Masters of art. I also want the 1% to be more open to crafts
art. Artisans of art can already claim it, which they ignore
sometimes. But you also have to let the communities know, because they don’t know
not all of them either. We’re going to work to get that
Finally, new measures implemented since the spring
last, we decided to consider each of the 217
professions recognized since 2003 by the texts as «crafts».
We must project ourselves into the 21st century: this nomenclature
is not frozen and should not be. Let us think together about opening it,
with respect for the excellence that keeps us busy and guides us.
Diderot said: Perhaps it is from the craftsmen that we should go and get
the most admirable evidence of the mind’s sagacity, of its patience
and its resources» In the words of another writer, I
say: Armed with ardent patience, we shall enter the splendid
Thank you.