Apprendre un nouveau métier

Learn a new profession

Once the decision to relaunch earthenware in Desvres was made, I had to face the facts, I was leaving with a huge gap: I knew absolutely nothing about ceramics.

Apart from knowing what clay my wedding service was made of, that was it.

However, we had to take up the subjects one by one: what were the manufacturing techniques used in factories in the past? Were they still taught? Was it actually viable to consider small series production with these methods? Etc., etc…

I have often heard: “but why do you want to learn the profession? » or even “there is a 10-year learning curve to be a ceramist”. How to respond to them simply? It seemed impossible not to know what I was talking about. I first had to know if the material, the clay, was calling me, speaking to me. I also needed to concretely understand the pace of production, the tasks, the time spent, the physical commitment that it required. Otherwise how to recruit, manage, manage an economic model? And above all I wanted to have a vague feeling of control over this enormous change in my life.

Of which act. Training operation! It was May 2022, we had to find something for the month of September. I didn't want to waste too much time, I had to start as quickly as possible to be able to put together a business plan. But then with whom? How ? Who could teach me the ancestral technique of casting in plaster molds which was practiced in Desvres? There was no question of wasting a year doing the CAP filming course which was not going to teach me this technique in any case. I ended up identifying two workshops in Paris. Two. This is so little compared to what the earthenware factories were in France. I'm not even talking to you about the fact that in Pas-de-Calais there haven't been any earthenware CAPs for decades.

As is often the case, it’s a story of encounter. I called the Garrigues workshop and came across Alexandra Garrigues. Alex, one of the first people I found on the way to this project. One of the first who told me: “but yes we have to do it, it’s a great idea”. Alexandra has always been working with plaster, she is so talented. At the first call I was convinced, my training would be there and not elsewhere.

Alexandra Garrigues - September 2022

The program was simple: 4 months of professional training, two days a week in a small team. In other words, a real luxury. The content of the training immediately appealed to me: we reviewed all the modeling techniques, molding, pouring, glazing, firing. It was the basis and I really needed it. Only problem, at the Garrigues workshop we work stoneware and porcelain. Not earthenware. So not the same cooking, glazing, removal techniques, etc. But regardless, I didn't have the luxury of saying no, I had to learn and quickly.

Marion Leporcq - September 2022

So I went one fall morning, on my bike, to the Garrigues workshop. After a few hours I had to put my hands in the clay to prepare the dough for the next day. And I knew. Of course it was pleasant, of course I wasn't disgusted by kneading this magma of sticky earth which smelled of the undergrowth. I had tears in my eyes. I was in the right place. This was indeed the beginning of the adventure.

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