Since 1994, nineteen promotions have taken place within the INMA to follow this transmission program. A boost in the run-up to recovery.
Nearly 149 Masters of Art, that is, as many Students and different paths. They are locksmith, costume designer, makhila manufacturer and have decided to follow this program to be transmitted a rare know-how and to perpetuate an activity threatened of disappearance. Feedback on the course and assessment of these three years of support with three students of former promotions of the program.
Liza Bergara, makhila manufacturer, class of 2019: a family affair
« Makhila is a traditional walking stick from the Basque Country, the daily companion of our ancestors. In our region, we have kept it and it has also become an honorary object. We are working on three main materials: Nerol wood, kid leather and nickel, an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel.
I always said I wouldn’t take it back the family business. I wanted to travel, do things elsewhere so I went to study in Reims and then in the United States before being hired in Paris. The resumption of the workshop was done very slowly: I first worked in communication then I learned the engraving to replace a retired craftsman and took up this position part-time. My grandfather and my mother were getting older, it needed a sequel and I felt good about the company so I took it back in 2019.
My Master of Art was Xavier Retegui, the oldest and most versatile craftsman so the best candidate to transmit his know-how and the only one to know all the stages of manufacture in a company where everything is very segmented. We are a small family business and Xavier was also recruited by my grandfather! He has thirty years of seniority so the relationship has been easy: he is in sharing, loves to teach others so the transmission was made naturally. The program ended last year and accompanied us on the direction I want to give the company. For example, I was able to familiarize myself with a management software that allows to take orders digitally while we used to do it on paper.
I was born in makhila, so I have a very personal relationship with him. For me it is important that the company be transferred. This is not a cause for concern at the moment because we have thirty years before I retire. But in twenty years, we will have to ask ourselves the question of passing on know-how and business to someone who is not going to make makhila something merchant or a luxury product. It is also the transmission of a state of mind. »
Cédric Suire, releveur-repousseur, promotion 2019: an iron will
« I arrived in the Ateliers Saint-Jacques, at the Coubertin Foundation, in 2009 as a fellow trained as a locksmith. It is during this year that I followed a module of three days of lifting pushing, which is one of the specialties of the metal locksmith. This is a practice I was not familiar with, and it involves working cold on one-millimetre thick iron to decorate works such as royal grilles, stair railings or railings on balconies.
There, I met Serge Pascal and stayed in the evening with him in his workshop to see how he proceeded. It worked well between us and at the end of the year, I thought I would work from site to site with this know-how. I continued my Tour de France of the Companions for another three years and then I saw Serge again who asked me to come back to the Foundation to take over.
I then sought to take evening classes in drawing to try to free my hand and I arrived at Boulle school where I met Mr. Pradels, a former student who told me about this program and I thought that we were legitimate candidates. For Serge, it was the best recognition he had ever had because it was that of his professional work by other professionals. Until now, what we lacked was transmission time but we had the advantage of being together all the time. The goal for us was to keep the technique and make it continue in more contemporary works. We would respond to a site and then document our restorations in writing. The program also allowed us to take a study trip to England in the footsteps of the ironworker Jean Tijou and having the INMA with us allowed us to open several doors.
From now on, my goal is to do a VAE (validation of acquired experience, editor’s note) with the National Institute of Heritage to obtain a diploma and then take over from Serge and become a reference in the profession. »
Marie-Pierre Bessac, costume designer, class of 2017: clothing in the skin
« The clothing virus was given to me by my grandmother who was a tailor. After graduating from high school, I passed a BTS clothing industry and I did two more years in model making and styling because I felt that there were strings missing from my bow.
I was employed for twenty years in various ready-to-wear brands quite high-end and in parallel, I created a small interior decoration brand and I was freelance to help brands develop their collections. It was during one of these missions that I met Christine Leclercq who told me of her desire to transmit the company. This project perfectly matched everything I loved, all the know-how I had acquired over time. I told myself that if I did not recover the know-how of the people who knew the glory of French clothing, if I did not take over, many things would disappear. I felt it was a mission.
The program perfectly matched the approach I had when I took over the workshop: to learn a know-how that I could then transmit. There was an upgrade to the stage world so we had an in-house training program. At Mod'L Scene, we have always had a modern and technical vision of our profession and we have set up a project of digitization of embroideries, dyes and patina to bring a new service in society. This allows us to have a library of drawings by time and to be very responsive to customer requests.
Thanks to this program, I was able to meet the other pairs who work in other professions but have the same concerns. We helped each other and advised each other and these are meetings that I would not necessarily have done elsewhere. The program finally made it possible to flat out the transmission project, to sit down and ask ourselves if we were missing something. We might not have been able to do all this in three years, without this follow-up and support. »