DO YOU fancy a class in floral design? Are you interested in furniture, watch or jewellery making? Perhaps you’d like to learn how to draw a comic strip? Observe the crafting of leather into saddles or handbags or wood into musical instruments. Witness the restoration of precious books and artworks.
Then again, maybe you’re curious about shaping rigid fabrics into delicate hats. Manipulating hot metal into lamps, ironwork and decorative objects. The intricate handiwork of ceramicists and illustrators. Or meeting the costumers, wigmakers and back-stage technicians who bring threatrical productions to life.
All this and much more are ours to discover during Les Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Arts in Geneva and in Vaud on 15, 16, and 17 April; in Jura on 23 and 24 April; and in Neuchâtel on 22, 23 and 24 April. Entrance to all events, which are conducted in French, is free but in some cases requires registration (and places can be limited).
A European-wide arts and crafts event
Launched in France in 2002, Les Journées des Métiers d’Arts became an annual European event in 2012, the same year that the City of Geneva became the first Swiss city to participate, followed by Vaud canton in 2014, the Canton of Jura in 2015 and for the first time this year, the Canton of Neuchâtel.
These special days are designed to spotlight the skills carefully developed over centuries in the design, creation, maintenance and restoration of handicrafts. They offer a unique opportunity to meet with master craftspeople in the very place where they practice their skills and to see them at work in the art of creation.
If you don’t have time to participate in an event, you can take in the unique world of craftsmen and women through the exhibition Art and Material by photographer Fred Merz, whose photos are featured in this post. His work can be found in the public space at Rue Hans-Wilsdorf, 1227 Les Acacias (near the skating rink and Hans-Wilsdorf bridge) until the end of April.
Places for some events go quickly
Of course, there’s nothing better than being there to witness events with your own eyes. For an overview of participating artisans in Geneva and where, when and how you can get to them, please click here and click on ‘par lieu’. Info about how and where to sign up is available here. Click here for the complete programme.
Explore the lineup of participating craftsmen in Vaud here and click on their names to find out more about them, where to find them (Plan de situation), and to sign up (Dates, Inscription). View the entire programme in detail here.
For the Jura, click here for the artisans’ overview and click on their names to learn about their craft, and location (Plan de situation), and to sign up (Dates, Inscription).
Last but not least, get to know the participating artisans of Neuchâtel, their whereabouts (Plan de situation), and to put your name down for a chance to see them at work (Dates, Inscription).
Please take note of registration deadlines and make sure to put your name down without delay for an event you’d like to attend, as places are sometimes limited and can go quickly. I hope you enjoy this really unique opportunity, and if you do, please leave a comment to tell me all about it.
Main photo caption: Learn about theatre arts during the Journée des Métiers d’Arts in Geneva. Photo © Fred Merz