Arts & crafts professions : the loss of skills and knowledge of exceptional Know-How

By Marine Conan

Regularly associated with the French regions’ cultural heritage, Art and Crafts participate in France soft power and symbolize an art of living specific to the country. They represents a real asset to achieve economic, urban development and tourism impacts and in supporting social development through culture. But despite this economic and cultural aspects, Arts and Crafts are also closely related to the luxury sector. It can be through precious materials, the unique touche, attention to detail and creativity that craftsmen brings to the most beautiful pieces. Thus the great names in the world of luxury are seeking for these exceptional professionals who work in many fields. Unfortunately, these craftsmen are increasingly facing the tougher economic climate, coupled to changes in the purchasing habits of consumers. That is why their uncertain future are confronting them with the high risk to find themselves without a successor to perpetuate their know-how.

Many professions of which the general population is not aware

According to section 22 of the Trade, Crafts and Industry Act of 18 July 2014, “Arts and Crafts” are defined as “[…] physical persons as well as social leaders of corporate bodies operating, with primarily or secondarily responsabilites, in independent business of production, creativity, transformation or in heritage restoration, characterized by the control of gestures and techniques for the work of materials needing an artistic contribution

Thus, to be certified as “Arts and Crafts”, several complementary and inseparable criterias must be combined, and especially a mastery of technical and manual skill in order to transform the materials. But also this human touch that reflects the creator’s artistic sensitivity and creativity, as well as unique works or works created in small series while being sustainable is also essential.

With their own wealth of history and innovation, these exceptional professions represent an unending source for designers and luxury brands. Around 200 professions distributed between 19 sectors have been identified. Fashion, flower arrangement, textile, leather, glass, watchmaking, goldsmithing, jewellery, performing arts, wood or metal, and many other fields are concerned by Arts and Crafts professions.

Many of these professions are frequently overlooked and abandoned by the public : shoemakers, feather workers, corsetiers, engravers, dials enamellers, wood pipe bakers, woodturners, basketmakers and so many others.

 

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