Pierre Frey’s Master weaver Olivier Joannen honored Knight of the Arts and Letters
Thanks to the Comité Colbert, whose aim is to valorise excellent craftsmanship to give young people a will for heritage, Olivier Joannen has been honored Knight of the Arts and Letters.
To maintain inherited know-hows from the XIXth century is an evidence for the Maison Pierre Frey as its wish is to preserve the French excellence heritage. Thus, it is with great pride that it sees the exceptional work of his talented weaver honored.
Olivier Joannen started at 17 years old to learn the work of handweaver, a particularly rare craft today that he is now the only one to master at the Maison Pierre Frey. Teached by a “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” and a Master of Art, he became years after years a skilled expert in this field. He first learned how to knot different kind of yarns before mastering the use of the looms, from the simpliest which is the dobby loom that makes plain fabrics, to the most complicated which is the Jacquard loom, allowing the realization of specific patterns such as the iron velvet, the damask, lampas and the brocatelle.
It is on one of those Jacquard looms from 1850 that Olivier Joannen works, settled in the heart of Pierre Frey weaving atelier certificated Living Heritage Company/ Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant, in Montigny en Cambrésis, in France.
The work of Olivier Joannen is extremely complexe. It is not only a technical prowess but also a human adventure as the weaver involves himself physically and morally in the making of his fabrics. Like a still walker, he constantly presses on the treadles in order to raise the warp yarns and then, with his arm, places the irons and throw the shuttle with the weft yarn inside. The sumptuous fabric was slowly born from these repetitive gestures which need both strength and delicacy, requirement and patience.
Above the fabric, we see the intimate relationship that links the craftsman to his work and which makes this one unique.
Some EXTRAORDINARY statistics!
• For 1 meter of cutted velvet producted in one day, the weaver
gives 4200 treadles kicks, introduces 600 irons by hand and
1200 weft passages with the shuttle ; He gives 1800 movements with the reed, he cuts 600 times the rabot yarns and extracts the 600 irons after cut.
• 9742 warp yarns are disposed on the loom in 65 cm wide, meaning 150 warp yarns per centimeter.
• 1 week is the time needed to set up the loom for the weaver for a new weaving project with new colours.
• Olivier Joannen weaves around 200 meters of silk velvet per year with one meter a day, whereas a weaver working with industrial electronic techniques can produce until 500 meters a day by driving 10 machines simultaneously.
The Presentation of the Medals of the Order of the Knights of Arts and Letters was organized with the Comité Colbert and the Minister of Culture on November 8, 2018
All Nominees to the Knights of Arts and Letters and Franck Riester, Minister of Culture - ©Julio Piatti
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