On the occasion of the 2022 Cultural Summer, the DRAC Nouvelle-Aquitaine supported the museum of the Abbey of the Trinity of Mauléon (Deux-Sèvres) in a project dedicated to the leather industry. Under the watchful eye of artisan Anne Rambaud, the participants thus (re)discovered the ancient techniques of this material that once made the city famous.

July 5 to September 19, 2022The Abbey of Trinidad in Mauléon Museum has brought together a diversity of inhabitants, large and small, around the work of leather, local heritage and jewel of the city in its time. Everyone was thus able to learn about this craft in contact with former workers, while (re)discovering museum collections in a privileged way. This project, supported by the DRAC Nouvelle Aquitaine as part of the Cultural Summer, consisted initially of collecting the memory of the former manufacturers of leather factories.   Once in the bath, the participants were able to try out the practice, accompanied by the artisan-designer Anne Rambaud.

Tough seniors with leather

Collecting the memory of the workers and understanding what their working conditions were, these were the objectives of the first workshop in which 15 members of the Senior Café of the local socio-cultural centre participated.   By exchanging with members of the former Mauléonais leather association, our budding leather workers discovered the organization of the factories and the atmosphere that reigned there. “I have become aware of the diversity of skills mobilized,” says Anne Rambaud, who is accustomed to working with leather at the end of the production line.

“I became aware of the diversity of skills mobilized”

Centered on the exchange and memory of an emblematic know-how, this workshop also allowed former leather workers to discover the abbey museum and its collections, as part of a privileged mediation.

Big and small hands at work

The desire to do well, mutual aid and solidarity have characterized the second workshop. Seven disabled people from the Foyer de la Mignauderie, five EHPAD residents and twenty-three children from the Mauléon leisure centre participated in the creation of small leather goods. Some of them visited the museum for the first time, the opportunity to appropriate their local heritage. Through the memory of the gesture, some participants even found their reflexes as former workers. At the end of the workshop, everyone was able to leave, proud, with his creation, whose presentation during the European Heritage Days of 17 and 18 September, was the highlight.