Try your hand in weekend festival of artistic crafts

A man in white coat crafts a wooden instrument with a range of objects round the sides to maintain force
Luthier Pascal Douillard assembles a cello in his workshop in Puy-en-Velay in Auvergne

The skills of generations of artistic craft workers are brought to life this weekend with the start of a France-wide festival of workshop open-days and hands-on sessions.

Themed tours and training events are also being held as part of 11th Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art (JEMA) which is running in 18 countries including, for the first time, the UK.

The European artistic craft weekend is a showcase for skilled craft workers but also a chance for those interested in new skills to have a go themselves.

Running from Friday until Sunday, the weekend looks at the 281 artistic crafts in areas such as design, decoration, fashion and heritage – a business that is worth more than €8billion, including €727million exports, each year.

Each month The Connexion has a page focusing on artistic crafts and so far we have looked at glove-makers and luthiers in France with a special interest in how they are encouraged and protected. Our new April issue, out this weekend and for sale in good newsagents, features glass-makers, with an example of their work shown below.

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You can see our earlier articles on glove-making here and on glass-blowing here.

The JEMA in France will feature more than 8,500 events across the country with 5,000 workshops open for visits, 1,500 public displays and 150 training centres open for the weekend.

Its website features some of the events that are taking place – and readers should take a look at the site to see the remarkable breadth of artistic skills on offer in France.

From clay sculptures to museum costume-making, wood-turning to basket-weaving and trompe l’oeil artist to saddle-maker – not forgetting the sailmakers, woodworkers, stonemasons and many other skills that allow France to build replicas ranging from 18th century frigates to a medieval castle.

A delicate lilac-coloured glass flower and leaves in a clear vase
This flower and vase showing the delicacy of the glassblower's art is featured in the the new April issue of The Connexion
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