Excellence, french style
As befits a custodian of time-honored expertise, Bernardaud strives to pass on vital knowledge of its craft under the best possible conditions. The company plays an important role in society by taking the time to train apprentices and students from art, design or ceramics schools. For instance, it takes a beginner two years to learn the art of spinning. Bernardaud often sends experienced professionals to give talks at schools about porcelain-related crafts and encourage young people to follow in the footsteps of well-known master artisans. Some of Bernardaud’s craftsmen have been singled out for their talent and fine work. Chief modeler Christian Brunet and later Stéphane Bonneau, trained by Brunet, have both been honored by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication for ‘‘their skills, experience and knowledge of their craft and their dedication to passing them on to younger artisans that will perpetuate them in turn.’’ They were recognized in particular for their work on engraving porcelain for votive candle holders.
Since July 2005, the campaign to gain recognition for skilled artisans has been part of a program to develop a ‘‘Ceramics Competitiveness Cluster’’*. The idea is to build cooperation between businesses, research institutes and training centers to form a platform conducive to growth.
* THE CERAMICS COMPETITIVENESS CLUSTER
The Limousin, Centre and Midi-Pyrénées regions decided to team up to improve the production process, increase flexibility, boost market responsiveness and cut costs. They aim to achieve these objectives by launching innovative projects and reinstating projects discontinued for lack of funding. The following sectors are involved : health (bone prostheses), automotive (catalytic converters), energy (fuel cells), telecommunications (electronic components and insulation materials), aeronautics, printing and urban development (street furniture). This joint initiative has led to many interesting possibilities for diversification.