The Greta of Applied Arts teaches versatility

Professions related to precious metals are currently experiencing profound structural changes due above all to the mechanization of the profession, the overall decline in activity and the multiplication of subcontracting situations, explains Françoise Dax-Boyer, continuing education advisor at Greta.

“The ornamental engraver, the engraver, the enameller, the lacquerer have gradually become independent craftsmen/artists, who today give a rather elitist vision of these professions”.

The markets, however, remain “open” and range from fine jewelry to goldsmithery, from armory to coins, from fashion accessories to costume jewelry, from the restoration of works of art to the creation of design. Thus, these professions now require increased manual and artistic ease and mastery of skills, based on knowledge of new technologies and new materials.

Enrich your knack

The “versatile practitioner in the art of metal” training was created five years ago. Approved by the Regional Council of Ile de France, it gives rise to 665 hours of theoretical teaching and 140 hours of practical work in companies, for a total cost of 7300 euros (488 euros for job seekers). Its main objective is to transmit to trainees a set of knowledge intended to extend their fields of competence in the art of metalwork so that they are no longer prisoners of a single technique. “The future lies in diversification,” insists our interlocutor. The Greta des Arts Appliqués spotted very early on that the metal crafts, which are often changing, have to deal with developments such that craftsmen find themselves confronted with new work situations. For example, an ornamental engraver must have sufficient knowledge of carving and drawing to open up other professional horizons, just as an engraver must have notions of ornamental engraving, art turning, bronze mounts, lacquer and enamelling are therefore taught with respect for tradition, while taking account of changes in tastes, uses and contemporary professional outlets. »

In addition, mastering new technologies is also one of the strong themes of this training system.

“Today, IT has become an indispensable tool,” continues F. Dax-Boyer. Not only because with the Internet, you can make yourself known to as many people as possible, but also because the computer provides effective help in terms of creation. The launch of the 3D Studio module, which familiarizes trainees with computer-aided design and drafting software, clearly illustrates the interest for these professionals of no longer depriving themselves of this formidable instrument. »

In addition, thanks to the European Social Fund, training has recently been able to develop around two new areas: natural lacquer techniques and enamelling. This course, which will be enriched from the start of the next academic year with two new modules in evening classes (bronze mounting and art turning), is therefore a key element in the development of crafts in metals in the sense that it promotes adaptation to mutations and accelerated changes that characterize the profession.

Since then, each new exhibition has been an opportunity to discover with delight new works, which always surprise us with the emotional strength of their message inscribed in the secular tradition… and yet so contemporary.

Express yourself freely

This sector, which is currently experiencing a favorable period, allows trainees, whether they are job seekers, employees or on a qualification contract, to consider several ways of retraining. “Jewelry designers, specifies our continuing education advisor, are increasingly in demand and metal professionals capable of navigating at ease between restoration, furniture design and urban space are also in high demand. At the same time, companies in the sector are increasingly involved in this training. Indeed, we have to deal with many requests for internships from specialized brands who wish to welcome interns to test their skills and “more if affinities”. These include, among others, Morisot, Niepce, Chardon… Haute Couture houses such as Dior, Ted Lapidus, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Lacroix are also interested in our young artists who create original jewelry lines. Finally, major brands such as Christofle, Arthus Bertrand, Cartier, Lalique are sensitive to this alliance of innovation and tradition, because they see it as a way to safeguard the excellence of their know-how.

In this sense, to promote the integration of trainees at the end of the training, an important educational work is carried out which allows everyone to learn