A regular Thursday morning towards the end of August: inside of Sèvres national ceramic manufacture, the artisans get busy in an astonishingly monastic silence.

Valérie is head of production and creation. Like many, she came to ceramic by accident and stayed out of passion. Since her very early years, she’d had «the taste for things well made, with this exact combination of academic accuracy and sensitivity ». Like Valérie the next generations of craftsmen have taken the path of physical endurance, extreme concentration and resistance to elements. In other words: it’s a extraordinarily sensual job.

Of course Valérie knows the manufacturing process inside out. She first joined Sèvres as a painter and continues to fight for the transmission of this unique knowledge of how to make things by the book. She is also a fervent advocate of the «print of the hand», an undeniable mark of uniqueness, authenticity and rarity which also gives a piece its character.

Nowadays she barely paints anymore to focus on production and the sourcing of raw materials, a burning issue. Her day starts at 7 in the morning and is punctuated by several visits to the workshops, to make sure all needs are covered.

No wonder she wouldn’t return my emails.

Visuals and illustration © Araso

Sèvres is open for the European Heritage Days on September 17th and 18th.

Valérie Jonca and her team will guide visitors through the workshop with exclusive insight. A tailor-made experience not to be missed on French heritage and craftsmanship.

Sèvres – Cité de la céramique
2 Place de la Manufacture
92310 Sèvres (France)
Tél. : +33(0)1 46 29 22 00