BEST CRAFTSMAN-CARVER OF FRANCE
"IN THE SAME WAY THAT I LEARNED FROM MY ELDERS, I LIKE TO REMIND APPRENTICES THAT BEYOND TECHNIQUE, OUR PROFESSION IS AS MUCH ABOUT MANUAL INTELLIGENCE AS IT IS ABOUT CONCEPTUAL INTELLIGENCE."
I would say that my job verges upon fine art drawing: you need to know human, animal and even plant anatomy, and you need to know how to craft draperies and manage interlacing fabric, ornamentation, and characters. When engraving directly on crystal with a grinding stone, I place myself in a bubble of total concentration until I can command my breathing and steady my hand into shaking as little as possible! From there, I can chisel scalloped designs, patterns, and more figurative illustrations. Whatever the subject, I always pursue a sense of three dimensions: an interplay of details, interweaving, and depths. We are as faithful as possible to the original design, but engraving remains a very personal skill towhich each person addstheir own touch.It isthese nuancesinworkmanship that give all Baccarat pieces their distinctive signature. It is what makes our crystal so noble, a typically French style that cannot be found anywhere else. When I was younger, I knew that by joining this company, I would have the opportunity to become Best Craftsman of France. In the same way that I learned from my elders, I like to remind apprentices that beyond technique, our profession is as much about manual intelligence as it is about conceptual intelligence. It took me two years, working ten hours a week, to master the entire engraving process. Since we cannot reinject material onto a cold piece, it is essential to think ahead. With enough experience, one learns how to remove up to a tenth of the crystal! It is only in this way, starting with a design and moving into a rough piece, that one looks at a fully completed work with a deep sense of satisfaction.
© Trafalgar Maison de Portraits & Romain Chambodut