Portrait of Camille on the turning workshop
What has been your career path?
I have been working at the Manufacture de Sèvres for 13 years. Originally specialised in the field of textile design in applied arts, I was not destined to become a turner. I wanted to join the Manufacture because I wanted to have a direct and intimate relationship with the material, while working in a collective. I learned this profession during three intense years under the tutelage of one of the craftsmen, who was able to instil in me this spirit of transmission. For me, this is the very heart of Sèvres. This is how I became the first woman turner in the history of the Manufacture.
Could you describe your taste for porcelain? How did it come about?
My taste for porcelain stems from my passion for the material. Turning porcelain requires a strong relationship with the clay, a relationship with the body, which makes it possible to obtain a homogeneous clay, a good ability to analyse lines and curves.
Could you explain to me what turning is for you?
Being a turner is precisely this ability to shape the material directly without a medium, to play with the immediate reactivity of the material, to adapt your body to it. All this is important insofar as the clay has a memory. Each gesture has a permanent influence on its properties.
In your opinion, what is the most essential quality of your profession?
The most important thing about being a turner in Sèvres is the ability to read the material with your fingertips, the fact that you can project yourself into the space to perceive the accuracy of the lines, the subtlety of the curves and counter-curves.
What tools do you use?
The tools we use are handmade, because for each new shape to be made, craftsmen have to invent suitable tools. A Sèvres turner is thus required to carve, cut and sharpen steel or wood pieces or even to use whalebone. The memory and the past of the manufactory lie in all the tools used over the years since the 18th century, which are stored and sometimes even reused.
How would you describe Sèvres?
For me, Sèvres is a unique place where the requirements push you to your limits. It is also a place where know-how is passed on, with a rich history.
What is your best memory at the Manufacture?
My best memory at Sèvres is when I was able to work with an artist and take part in the reflection on the object to be made. It was these direct collaborations with the artists that had a strong impact on me. Similarly, I really appreciated when two photographers produced a book on the transmission of gestures in the arts and crafts, based on four years of investigation within Sèvres trying to understand all the finer points of our work.
What is your favourite artwork in Sèvres?
I hesitate between Le coppe della filosofia by Michele De Lucchi and the Monolithe by Emmanuel Boos.
What is your favourite piece in the online shop collection?
I prefer the Ruhlmann vase n°4, because it is very well conceptualised and interesting to make. I really like its shape and the pure gold thread that highlights it.