"I'm speaking to you as an activist, we have to keep this job going! »
Sylvie Johnson welcomes us to her weaving workshop in the heart of Paris. Tannyna Kowalski, winner of the Prix Savoir-faire en transmission 2020, and Anh Boutin, former winner and now employee, are busy at the looms.
18 years ago, when Sylvie Johnson started her company, weaving was mainly for haute couture, but very little for furniture. Today, her clients are mainly architects and interior designers.
As we visit the workshop, Sylvie explains that she establishes a chain of excellence in her creative process. Most of the yarns used for the fabrics are produced by spinners, who also work for haute couture.
Sylvie, Tannyna and Anh show us some of their fabric samples. The mix of certain materials is remarkable. Cotton and leather, gold thread and horsehair, or cork and silk, combine perfectly, and create a unique contrast. Each material has its own properties and constraints. Raffia, for example, sometimes requires two days of preparation before it can be woven.
"The thread makes the textile. The idea is not to create patterns, but that patterns are created through the combination of colours and textures. »Sylvie Johnson
Sylvie is very familiar with the Savoir-faire en transmission awards. She discovered them thanks to Marion Wodarcazck, who came to apply at her workshop. Word of mouth then enabled Anh Boutin to take advantage of the scheme, and then Tannyna Kowalski, the current winner, to do an internship in the workshop. The two previous winners were subsequently hired, and Sylvie hopes that Tannyna will also stay.
"I have always come across pearls! The weaver's trade requires rigour and organisation. A small mistake in the assembly of the threads on the loom can lead to defects in the final product. »Sylvie Johnson
Sylvie reveals that she has great difficulty in recruiting in her sector of activity. The profession of weaver is not well known, and according to her and Tannyna, it is sometimes perceived as a hobby, or an ancestral activity that is a little outdated. Higher education courses offer weaving courses, but without going as far as the production of a complete piece.
"You have to have a professional vision of this business, making fabric samples is not enough. »Sylvie Johnson
She therefore found the Know-How Transfer Award ideal for training and recruiting her employees.
"We have three looms, but never three weavers! We need to perpetuate this know-how, I don't understand why more people aren't interested. Weaving is a wonderful thing, I love the idea of making something beautiful every day. »Sylvie Johnson
Tannyna and Anh agree, convinced of the enrichment of this forgotten art.
"Thank goodness these awards exist! »Anh Boutin
For the two laureates, the Savoir-faire en transmission prize has enabled them to acquire a more global vision of this profession and to continue the training they received in art schools. Thus, they can now project themselves professionally in this sector of activity.