Alain Sauter, maker of terrestrial globes: when making circles, it is necessary to be square
“Everything starts with making according to a traditional method of two perfect hemispheres with a rod core. If the gesture seems simple, it is technical and extremely precise, down to the nearest half millimeter.”
While preparing the cartography course, Alain Sauter, geography researcher teacher, in France led to the disappearance of the profession of globe makers. “So I started, out of curiosity.”
The test turns into a consuming and obsessive passionInterspersed with bibliographic research, conversations with a globe restorer, and countless tests to find suitable materials, improve your watercolor skills…
“Very few people still have this knowledge and experience that requires several trades and no one knows how to make a globe from start to finish.”
With graphic designer Cécile Blaryon their side as of 2019, the craftsman has several basic maps of their creation and personalizes each globe according to its caliber and the customer’s wishes.
“The printed map is cut into 12 zones of 30 degrees to travel around the world. The most delicate step, collage, precedes watercolor painting, with transitions and shading almost impossible to achieve with pure digital techniques.”
The workshop in Besançon (25) is then transformed into a carpenter while it takes time to design, draw and manufacture the globe mount.
Patrick Brassac, pewter potter: a dozen professions in one
In the eighties there were 200 of them. Today, Patrick Brassac is the only pewter potter in France. Based in Bourg-de-Péage (26), the 58-year-old craftsman represents sixth generation to perpetuate the knowledge of the ancestors.
“As a child, I watched my father’s actions and helped with some work in the workshop behind the house. When I joined him at the age of 18, I already knew how to work with tin.”
With the support of his wife Maggie, Patrick Brassac works on a dozen crafts to make objects from pewter, an edible metal combined with antimony and copper, at the level of 3%.
“Starting from the raw material to the final product, it is necessary to master different stages such as creation, mold making, foundry, welding, polishing…”
Faced with French dissatisfaction with tin, the couple turned to foreign markets. Export represents 80% of traffic from company to 850 references and according to diversification keep going
“From the soup bowls and jugs of yesteryear, people prefer small items like knife holders, wine corks and writing utensils. The price of a can has tripled from health crisisour products are considered luxury products.”
Although he is not yet actively looking for a buyer, Patrick Brassac strives to do so convey your interest whose diverse knowledge and experience is acquired over four to five years.
Alain Soucille, producer of natural sharpening stone: from quarry to workshop
Alain Soucille does buffalo leather polishing machines in his father’s business in Thiers (63) when he found out that the last producer of natural artificial stone was looking the customer.
Today, natural sharpeners for sharpening knives, woodworking tools, scissors, scythes and some stone files in the same spirit come from the workshop Saurat (09), which the craftsman took over in 2006.
“Two employees stayed and showed me how they have been working in the quarry and workshop for 35 years.”
With the help of his daughter in the office, the 64-year-old craftsman does business one of the smallest quarries in France in Ariège, with his 69-year-old colleague. During a normal year of operation, the duo draws up to 30 tons of slate and produces more than 70,000 sharpening stones.
“Let’s use the nice days from April to October to go to the vein because the place is steep and slippery.”
Despite hard workAlain Soucille remains passionate about transforming the raw material into a durable, high-quality product and says he only foresees the transfer after 2025.
“The most complicated thing is learning how to exploit the vein. Workshop skills are quite easy to acquire. You have to know how to cut stones in the right direction, integrate some of them into wooden bases, but most can be used simply, by hand or put on a work surface.”