Bodies fit for work | Hermes
WOMEN AND MEN
Bodies fit for work
Fifteen to twenty hours of work for a bag, twenty-five for a saddle: the gestures required to manufacture them are constraining. A number of simple habits help artisans keep mind and body fit for work.
Human beings are always moving, particularly so when they are artisans. Let’s take a look at a watchmaking workshop: the watchmaker’s hand and upper body are involved from start to finish when making an object. By placing sensors on the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and back, it is possible to identify and measure the role played by repetitive gestures and postures in the appearance of pathologies affecting the joints, and to develop appropriate mental and physical preparation.
Enjoyable four-hour workshops entitled “A body for life” have been implemented with a training organisation specialising in preventing repetitive strain injuries and disorders. Physiotherapists refresh participants’ knowledge of healthy habits for everyday life. We sometimes forget that the ideal position is one that we change often. Or that the ideal chair is the one we get up from. This health programme, which is extended to all leather métiers and all manufactures, is complemented by individual monitoring for those suffering more debilitating pain and discomfort. Because our bodies are designed to move, and to continue doing so.
a decade of open-mindednessIn late 2008, an artisan from the leather workshop in Sayat laid down his tools in Puy-de-Dôme to spend a week behind a counter with a sales associate at the faubourg Saint-Honoré store in Paris. It was the start of the Tandem exchanges. Bringing these two worlds together is not simply a matter of distance. It is an invitation to live somebody else’s life and introduce them to one’s own.
Dexterity, the trade secret of talentAgile fingers dance with tools for cutting and table work in the leather workshops. Hermès welcomes diversity in backgrounds and ages. Here, dexterity, tested with the French Pôle emploi (Job Centre) prevails over initial training. This, along with respect for time, is the main secret of crafting objects.
The golden filets of porcelainOf all the arts involved in glazing ceramics, that of painting a band, or filet, onto a piece of porcelain is one of the most intricate. In the Hermès workshops in Nontron, the artisans must juggle between bowls, large vases, plates, dishes and tureens. Eight gold-filet workers maintain this know-how, decorating the pieces by hand using a liner brush saturated with gold, platinum or colour.