We just went to the opening of the Hermes presents Festival des Metiers (Festival of Crafts) which is a fabulous show at The Design Exchange in Toronto, from October 2-6th, 2013 (and it is free to the public). It showcases the Hermes artisans from France and gives you a chance to chat with them about the incredible design process. Hermes has longstanding traditions and values when it comes to craftsmanship and have an uncompromising commitment to the highest standards of quality, so it was a real honor meeting their artisans.
We first were greeted by the gorgeous Jennifer Carter, the President of Hermes Canada. She told us how it takes two years from start to finish for an artisan to complete a scarf starting with a sketch. We then met with the artisan who showed us the design process of how a scarf is made. She showed us all of the different layers of papers, how everything is still done by hand and explained the process from start to finish. We were blown away with how much dedication and love the artisans have and how skilled they are.
The exhibition is so cool because you can go around from station to station and find out about: the silk screening process for the scarves, how the watches are made, see the creation and design process of a Kelly bag, watch how the Hermes cuff is made, learn about ties, painting on plates, how gloves are made, and see how saddles are constructed. You can also ask the artisans questions about their work, and even if you don't speak French they have translators to help out. We asked the Saddle artisan, "What was the coolest saddle he has ever made?" And he said he made one with wings!
We also chatted with the CEO of Hermes, Patrick Thomas, and he told us about a special feature on the Hermes watch that can actually stop time! It's actually possible because they are so breathtaking! It was fun to watch the artisans silk screening the scarves by pouring pink ink on the screen and how accurate they have to be (they can't even be 1mm off when they silk screen). They also they keep their studio nice and warm at 30 degrees Celsius, so that the ink dries faster. It was a really special exhibition and amazing to see how a Kelly bag is made by hand! Definitely worth checking out!
The Design Exchange, Canada's Design Museum; 234 Bay Street, Toronto, ON, M5K 1B2
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