YOU’LL have noticed by now that I’m a big fan of the artisans of Carouge, the lovely Sardinian enclave that’s so close geographically and yet so far in terms of architecture, shopping, and “vibe” from neighbouring Geneva.
Many of these celebrated differences find their source in Carouge’s heyday as Geneva’s economic rival. Border trade made it a commercial hub and the population exploded (from 500 to 4,700 in the twenty years from 1772-1792) sparking an influx of diverse artisans to service its daily needs.
Around 450 craftsmen specialising in some thirty trades took up residence in the thriving district: tailors, shoe- and boot-makers and jewellers to clothes the inhabitants; furniture makers, interior designers, ironmongers and tinsmiths to embellish their homes both inside and out.
Over the centuries, some artisans moved on to be replaced with others responding to new needs: graphic artists, photograhers, set designers, costume makers and florists as well as furniture and art restorers who kept what remained of the old looking new — or as close to new as possible.
Honoring Carouge’s artisans and their craftsmanship
For its latest exhibition, the Musée de Carouge has chosen to cast a spotlight on these modern-day artisans, who preserve time-honored craftsmanship and help sustain the area’s unique diversity and energy.
The talent and skills of Carouge’s clothes and costume designers, milliners, weavers, woodworkers, jewelers, graphic artists, photographers, and restorers among others are reflected in their crafted objects, the result of their imagining, creating and shaping.
The exhibition’s secondary goal is to present in a new setting those crafted items that accompany and embellish our daily lives and to explore the definition and importance of arts and crafts in the 21st century.
Artisanal products reflect desires and needs (click on the photos for info)
Many of these talented artisans open their doors to the public during the annual Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Arts and I was particularly pleased to see examples of work from the stylists, weavers, and milliner I profiled earlier this year in my post On the path of the artisans of Carouge.
The exhibition offers a chance to “open the door” on the shops and ateliers of these talented artisans both figuratively and literally speaking: one of a number of special events will include a visit to four of the Carougeois artisans’ workshops (“Art7”).
Guided tours of the exhibit, crafting ateliers for adults, parents and children (see Art7 for 6 November) and a marionnette demonstration round out the offerings, which you can study in detail here: Musée de Carouge – Visites guidées et animations.
A visit to this exhibition combined with a stroll through Carouge’s streets and a stop for lunch or coffee is not a bad way to spend an afternoon…to say the very least.
Imagine. Create. Shape. Arts and Crafts in Carouge
22 September to 11 December 2016
Tuesday to Sunday from 14h-18h – Free Entry
Musée de Carouge (access)
Place de Sardaigne 2
Events are conducted in French.