Installed for close to thirty years in Mirecourt, in the Vosges, Jean-Jacques PagÃ¨s, has constantly wanting to make his letters of nobility at the French luthier.
Since 1625, date of the signing of the first contract of apprenticeship, the Vosges town of Mirecourt is recognized as the capital of the stringed instruments. It is was introduced in the early 16th century by a certain Tywersus, who had acquired techniques in Cremona in Italy. Jean-Jacques PagÃ¨s, born in Paris in 1948, is installed since 1977.
Born into a family of artists and musicians, it initiates the violin as early as four and a half years. "I was playing on a small violin due to master luthier Paris Charles Enel", he recalls. Soon fascinated by this instrument he wants to make, he joined the workshop of Etienne Vatelot, famous luthier formed in Mirecourt with Jean Eulry, the master of the greatest luthiers. "I wanted to learn at home but places were limited, also I've waited in Vatelot, and then I went to training in Bavaria in Mittenwald, for two years", remembers Jean-Jacques PagÃ¨s, which in the early 1970 completed his apprenticeship in Mirecourt.
First Assistant then Chief of workshop, he decides, in 1977, stealing his own wings in settling in the Vosges mountains. "" I said even today my students it takes eight to ten years of training to master luthiers to claim work alone. "It must have taken the time to discover different techniques, different schools, carry out restoration work, before embarking on the creation", insists the craftsman. Since the opening of his Studio, he has built nearly 300 instruments, including a String Quartet. 90 Parts of each instrument was cut into the wood of a same log.
Making a violin claimed fifteen days (size wood, shaping of the ribs and the House...) and then time for the opening. "This relatively short period of time is to the rationalization of the steps developed by the French school of lutherie, which avoids unnecessary gestures." "The German or Italian schools involve more time", says Jean-Jacques PagÃ¨s. In the cluster of luthiers and archetiers of art France and the international agreement of the master luthiers, he defends this French school which tends to be supplanted by his Italian rival. "We need to make the effort to preserve this know-how and techniques of manufacture, codified since the 18th century", says the luthier of Mirecourt.
That is why, three years, he opened in his workshop, an international school of lutherie and archÃ¨terie of art. The pedagogy is based on Visual observation then repetition of ancestral actions, first by imitation and then with more control. This school hosts each year promotions of five to six students for intensive training of thirty months, sanctioned by a diploma awarded by a jury of master luthiers and international archetiers. In learning, many luthiers, archetiers and specialists will intervene in specific areas (restoration, expertise, creating templates, knowledge of the Woods and varnishes, etc.).
"I want to develop this training centre, which receives more in addition to applications." I should quickly go to a dozen students by promotion. "But I lack of place in Mirecourt, also I install me to a few tens of kilometres, Haute-Marne, in an Abbey", announces Jean-Jacques PagÃ¨s.