Masters of art: former students testify

Almost 149 Masters of Art, meaning as many Students and different paths. They are a locksmith, a costume designer, a makhila maker and decided to follow this program to pass on a rare knowledge and to continue an activity that is in danger of extinction. Course feedback and assessment of these three years of support with three students from previous program promotions.

Liza Bergara, makhila maker, class of 2019: a family relationship

The makhila is a traditional cane from the Basque Country, the daily companion of our ancestors. In our region, we kept it and it also became an honorary object. We work with three main materials: medlar wood, kid leather and nickel silver, an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel.

I have always said that I will not replace the family business. I like to travel, do things in other places, so I studied in Reims and then in the United States before I was accepted in Paris. The continuation of the workshop was done very slowly: I first worked in communication then I learned carving to replace a craftsman who retired and took this position part-time. My grandpa and mom are getting old, a sequel is needed and I feel good about the company so I picked it up in 2019.

My Master of Art is Xavier Retegui, the oldest and most versatile of the craftsmen, therefore the best candidate to pass on his knowledge and the only one who knows all the stages of manufacturing in a company where everything is very segments. We are a small family business and Xavier was also recruited by my grandfather! He has worked for thirty years so the relationship was easy: he loves to share, loves to teach others so the transmission is natural. The program ended last year and helped guide us in the direction I wanted the company to take. For example, I was able to familiarize myself with the management software that allows us to take orders digitally, whereas we used to do it on paper.

I was born in makhila, I had to have a very personal relationship with him. For me it is important that the company has passed. It’s not something to worry about right now because we have thirty years before I retire. But in twenty years, we have to ask ourselves the question of passing the knowledge and the company to someone who will not commercialize or make a luxury product. It is also the transmission of a state of mind. »

Cédric Suire, reliever-repeller, class of 2019: an iron


I arrived at Ateliers Saint-Jacques, within the Coubertin Foundation, in 2009 as a scholarship holder with training as a metal locksmith. This year I took a three day metalwork module, which is one of the specialties of locksmithing and metalwork. It’s a skill I didn’t know and consists of cold working steel one millimeter thick to decorate works like royal gates, stair railings or railings. on balconies.

There, I met Serge Pascal and stayed the night with him in his studio to see how he got on. 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 knowledge. I continued my Tour de France des Compagnons for another three years, then saw Serge again, who suggested that I return to the Foundation to take his place.

Then I tried to take drawing classes at night to try to free my hand and I came to the Boulle school where I met Mr. Pradels, a former student who told me about this program and I told myself that we are legitimate to apply. For Serge, this is the best recognition he has because it is for his work as a professional by other professionals. Until now, what we lack is transmission time, but we always have the advantage of being together. The goal for us is to keep the technique and make it last in works that are also more contemporary. We respond to a project and then document our restorations in writing. The program also allowed us to take a study trip to England in the footsteps of ironworker Jean Tijou and having INMA with us opened many doors for us.

From now on, my goal is to do VAE (validation of acquired experience, editor’s note) at the National Heritage Institute to get a diploma and then replace Serge and become a reference in the profession. »

Marie-Pierre Bessac, costume designer, class of 2017: leather clothing


The clothing virus was given to me by my grandmother who was a tailor. When I left my baccalaureate, I did BTS in the clothing industry and I added two years of modeling and fashion design because I felt my bow was losing its strings.

I have been working for twenty years in various relatively high-end ready-to-wear brands and at the same time, I created a small interior decoration brand and I freelance to help brands develop their collections. During one of these missions I met Christine Leclercq who told me of her desire to pass on the company. This project perfectly matches everything I want, all the knowledge I have acquired over time. I told myself that if I could not recover the wisdom of those who knew the heyday of French clothing, if I did not take over, many things would be lost. I felt it as a mission.

The program perfectly matches the approach I had when taking the workshop: to learn a knowledge that I can pass on. There was an upgrade to be done from the stage world so we had an in-house training program. At Mod’L Scène, we always have a modern and technical vision of our profession and we set up a project to digitize embroidery, dyes and patina to bring a new service to society. This allows us to have a library of seasonal drawings and be very responsive to customer requests.

Thanks to this program, I met other couples who exercise other professions but have the same concerns. We helped and advised each other and these were encounters I did not need elsewhere. The program finally allowed us to put the delivery project into perspective, to question ourselves and ask ourselves if we are missing something. We may not be able to do all this in three years, without this monitoring and support. »

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