The beginnings of Philippe Tournaire
The beginnings of Philippe Tournaire
Self -taught, I groped at length from the knowledge learned as a family or in travel. In Morocco for example, I met craftsmen who worked with a very rudimentary tool.
A cellar to make his weapons
When I started learning radio-electrician, I was already doing jewelry, clothes, weaving and even shoes for a long time. My parents, rather modest, had transmitted to me that when you wanted something, you had to manage to do it. The D system was transmitted to me very early to my brothers and myself. If I liked something, I didn't ask myself the question of going to buy it, but I was wondering how I could do it. The Musée de l'Homme in Paris gave me avenues for reflection in order to respond to the recurrent "For what ?». Located at Trocadéro, this museum highlights the diversity of humanity in the anthropological, historical and cultural fields. What attracts me here are everyday objects of all civilizations having more or less disappeared. My fascination for this heritage pushed me to seek and reproduce how the first men shaped their objects and why of utilities they have today become works of art.
THE jewelry I liked a lot. In the profession of radio-electrician, in the campaign,
You have to be very versatile, so I installed machines and worked copper. I was fortunate to have learned to tinker with grandparents in carpenters on the one hand and farmers on the other, it also helped me a lot. These very varied professions that require ingenuity and know-how allowed me to be able to achieve everything I wanted. For example, my carpenter grandfather had his forge on which he manufactured his tools. This apparent facility and this know-how of my grandfather with whom I spent hours in the workshop, have opened the craft worker and the keys to me to understand its long process straight.
My luck was also, very quickly, to realize that by focusing on small objects, my asthma bothered me less, I forgot that I had to breathe. Asthma is a psychological part and a pathological part. Art therapy did not exist, but I had found what made me and did me good in addition to sport. Listen to my body, by concentrating and by achieving works of art, such were the key, the trigger ...
After having lived 20 years with the family in what was both accommodation, workshop and store, we moved in 1971 to live in Baffie, a hamlet 1 kilometer from Saint-Germain-Laval. My parents had restored a very old house there, semi-buried. The cellar gave and always gives on a path that leads to the famous Baffie bridge and its chapel. I was 22 years old and I took the opportunity to bring me a workshop in this place. Since I couldn't stand up, I dug the ground for 20 centimeters and enhanced the door. Once the walls and the floor is clean, I settled my workbench, rudimentary tools and an interior showcase which will allow me to exhibit my first creations. I also landed an improvised room in a corner because I often worked to work late at night ... I lived there for 7 years, in a kind of autarky, working slowly and long on my creations. Completely virgin of all techniques, I was trying everything that went through my head with all the metals or objects that could inspire me. I did not know, then, that this work was an essential gestation for the birth of my style. And then two reasons pushed me to start working only the mornings in electricity. My passion for jewelry, which I always manufactured for friends, but also the arrival of the first integrated circuits. Over the next day, we had to work on positions of which we did not know how it works. At first, when you had to repair a lamp position or a transistor, there was an intuitive side, it was necessary to understand the operation, it was a treasure hunt for me. When the integrated circuits arrived, we just became part changers. We had to measure the tension and if it did not correspond to the specifications, we had to change the integrated circuit, but we then had no idea of reason. Working as it did not interest me at all, there was no longer the challenge side, finding a breakdown was a bit of a game. I knew when the job was going to continue to evolve in this direction and that it would lose All his interest in my eyes. And then I needed to find time to meet my need to create, becoming more invasive every day.
"I didn't think jewelry could become a job"
For a year, I have "Tarabusty" The tax manager in Roanne so that he authorized me to make jewelry under a special status. What currently corresponds to self-entrepreneurship or micro-enterprise did not exist, we immediately became an entrepreneur. VAT on luxury products was 33% and if I launched myself without status, this would not have been possible. So I studied the legislation with a friend, then one fine day the solution was imposed: I would baptize myself «Precious metal sculptor». I returned to see the tax guy in Roanne, Mr. Lopez. The names of those who help you advance remain. Then, in March 1973 during a last meeting, he said to me:"Well, your story will not be played on millions, I grant you this status". The growing demand exceeded the friendly framework and I had to practice legally. So I got my 1st masterpiece And authorization to buy and resell precious metals with a police book. I took two years, going to see this Lopez gentleman regularly to find the solution. As an artist I was not subject to VAT, I had less constraints and administrative than an entrepreneur. And from there, I rushed thoroughly with this status for 11 years. When I started officially, I did not know at all of the jewelry and fine stones. I was helped by people who gave me the basics to do a good job. From 1973, I regularly rubbed shoulders with a tailor of Lyon stones called Jacques Secretan. I was going to see him to have answers to all the questions I had on the stones. Even if they were sometimes bizarre, he tried to answer. This man was a very important person in my learning of jewelry because he allowed me to understand gemology and to forge my own vision of stones.
Adiamondary From rue Mercière, Jean Grosfilley, also took the time to teach me the universe of this exceptional stone. Above all, there is another person who was very influential in my first years of exercise. Ajeweler, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, by the name of Jean Giraud that I had met at the Saint-Etienne Fair when he worked in public. He had a store located in Saint-Chamond and was the first person in the job to encourage me. He offered to pass to see him in his workshop, which was a big mark of trust. I took myself 3 years before I dare to go ...
All these people, these meetings, the obstinacy and the hours spent in the established taught me to work. It gave me the opportunity to build an identity, a style that is found in my creations.
At first, I was in the countryside, I had no fees, I was not married and I had no children yet. I was continuing" my Bohemian " Then word of mouth brought me more and more customers who made me work and live. I continued my half-time radio-electrician job with my father until 1976, then I completely devoted myself tojewelry. I also set out to build a small house with my hands above Baffie. I lived there from 1978, the birth year of Romain, my first son.
I have very good memories in my cellar, I learned a lot of things there and not only compared to my job. The radio has fed my mind and my curiosity. While working, I listened to Jacques Chancel in his program " Radio-Sopy Where he always invited exciting people who encouraged me to read their books. But also France-Culture where science and history were very present. In the end, I learned more from hearing than by reading or school. I had no training, it was my great chance of not knowing how we did thejewelry. I did as I felt it.
This is a constraint at the beginning, because by not knowing how to do it, it takes more time to manufacture. But I was able to reinvent existing techniques in my own way and create my own expertise. And since I had a very good knowledge of carpentry, forge and electronics, this knowledge connected and I found alternative solutions. From this drawback which has become constrained, in reality were born my style and my talent.
In 1979, the price ofGold went from 4,000 to 15,000 euros per kilo in one or two months, when the USSR entered Afghanistan. Overnight, my raw material multiplied by three gave a big brake to my activity. In parallel, to earn some money in order to finance my materials, I had a friend who dreamed of opening a nightclub. He helped me set up the cellar, suddenly I led him to hand.
In 1981, the birth year of Mathieu, the project led and the " Gray verse »Opened its doors. It was evening, it allowed me to earn a little money by making the bartender and the DJ. It allowed me to meet people who had dynamic companies in the region. Their success gave me confidence, and the idea that I could also settle in town germinated.