It is clear that the Compagnons de France Maître Cristallier can now be counted on the fingers of one hand.
You know, or you have probably already heard of the Compagnonnage.
You know that it is a very hard and long apprenticeship.
I confirm that it is what we call an old-fashioned training, as we like it.
But do you know exactly what it is?
In this article I will explain it all to you.
As a Crystal Master Journeyman, I will describe to you how this very special training takes place.
I'll start by explaining the Crystal Journey in more detail.
Describing what you have experienced is the most explicit way to define an experience, so I will continue by telling you about my journey full of anecdotes that will make you smile, and finally its advantages.
1- The Crystal Journey.
This is a specific course for the crystal industry which is overseen by the Chambre des Métiers de la Moselle.
-The apprenticeship and companionship course is spread out over seven years and allows you to rub shoulders with the best French and foreign workers.
-This allows you to learn totally different techniques and ways of doing things, each time with the imprint and culture of the traditions of the different countries or craftsmen.
During my career I had the chance to go to many countries.
2- My journey as a Journeyman.
From a very young age, I developed a fascination for crystal through the activity of my father who was also in crystal. It is quite naturally at the age of 14 that I turned to learning how to work with this noble material.
So I did a professional course with the best French and foreign crystal workers.
In general this course is done in the country of residence, but the crystal being worked in different ways in different countries I had to travel to learn all these techniques.
So now you are wondering where I went and what are the different ways of making crystal?
I went to France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Czechoslovakia. Which is now called Czechoslovakia. This was long before the fall of the Berlin Wall. I'm not getting any younger.
-It all started in France with a Meilleur Ouvrier de France Cristallier in Moselle. I had already been to him during the school holidays to familiarise myself with crystal work. I stayed there for three years.
The work there was very interesting, as in all small structures you have to be versatile and learn to master all the techniques from the beginning to the end of the manufacturing process.
A family business of people who are passionate about their work, always looking for new creations and at the cutting edge of crystal sculpture and polishing. But also a family that welcomed me as if I were a full-fledged member and with whom I shared unforgettable moments, whether at work or on a personal level. I will always remember the wife of this crystal craftsman who prepared a snack for me the day I took the train at 5:30 a.m. to go to class in Sarreguemines.
-Afterwards I went to another craftsman of Czech origin, in the same region, where I was also able to learn another way of doing things and a very refined work. This was also a family business where I stayed for two years. Where I was able to familiarize myself with other techniques and particularly with that of crystal cutting in the "Bohemian" style of incredible finesse and precision.
The work of the doubled crystal combining the unique transparency of this material with the beauty and the depth of a layer of crystal coloured by means of metallic oxides.
But I also learned about family life with an incredible generosity and sense of welcome and the small dishes of the grandmother (called "OHMA"). I keep an imperishable memory of it.
I then did several internships of between three and six months in large French and European companies, which allowed me to learn the organization of large structures and mass production, which is also very useful in order to improve productivity and therefore the quality-price ratio.
During my internships in large structures within prestigious houses, I also had the privilege to meet passionate and talented people, but also to discover the organization of manufacturing in larger quantities and therefore an approach where time management and organization are much more optimized than in a craftsman. It was an experience that will be very important for the future, because it allowed me to offer products worthy of the greatest houses with an exceptional quality-price ratio.
These different trainings allowed me to travel
-in Germany in Bavaria where there is also a great tradition of crystal works.
-in Austria in a world famous house.
-in Italy on the island of Murano.
-in Czechoslovakia, which is now called the Czech Republic. That was long before the Berlin Wall came down. I'm not getting any younger. I worked there in the Prague area.
To learn more, here is a little video where I describe my professional career and my know-how.
I found a photo taken in my workshop when General Bigeard came to visit me. I was 16 years old.
-At the age of twenty and I obtained my Brevet de Compagnon.
Now that you know my background and all these anecdotes, I will explain more precisely what was beneficial to me during my companionship.
3- What the journeyman experience brought me.
As I have just explained to you, this course is enriching. Whether in large manufacturing units where you learn organization or productivity, but also where everything is compartmentalized.
On the other hand, the small artisanal structures require greater versatility and allow you to become familiar with all the stages of crystal production.
But beyond the professional experiences I will always have incredible memories. Whether it is for the satisfaction of having shared experiences or made new pieces.
But also for the enrichment that this course provides in terms of meetings and sharing with all these people, each one more passionate and exciting than the other.
So much for the learning of the work, but also and simply the learning of life and human relationships ... and that is priceless!
To finish this part, here is an article from the Est Républicain, dating from the beginning of my career, on a creation of a vase of more than one meter, made in three parts. (On the picture of the article: the size of the foot of the vase).
You understood it a journey of Companion, it is a true adventure and I am very proud to have had the chance to do it.
It taught me so much, professionally and personally.
Even if it is clear that you learn every day, you grow from this experience and are happy to be able to handle a very rare know-how "to perfection".
There, now you know more.
And you can share it with all your friends.
Any other questions come to mind?
Feel free to leave me a comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
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