Aveyron: Armelle Pouchet, a musician turned renovationist at Lunac
Since April 2022, this upholsterer has opened his workshop in Les Mazières, in the town of Lunac.
For more than twenty years, he wanted to work with his hands. He dreamed it! First, he was a student at the National Music School in Rome. In 1986, he received First Prize (higher degree) at the Léopold-Bellan general music and drama competition in Paris. In 1993, he earned gold medals in violin and chamber music. Concert player, violinist and teacher of music theory, he practiced his profession in the various towns of the Drôme and Isère: Saint-Marcellin, Mours-Saint-Eusèbe, Saint-Vallier, Romans, Valence. In 1998, he was awarded a master’s degree in musicology at Lumière University of Lyon.
Born in Drôme, in Bourg-de-Péage, near Romans-sur-Isère, Armelle Pouchet came to settle in Aveyron in 1999 and worked at various colleges as a music teacher. But his passion is elsewhere. For example, he wants to become a violinist.
With life’s twists and turns and after several months of unemployment, he chose manual work. “I need to work with my hands,” he said. He then became a house painter at La Primaube, then worked at Chalets Fabre, before becoming a welder at the Neobaie company, in Rieupeyroux. In the process, he undertook renovations to his newly acquired home.
Having some notion of carpentry, he turned to the profession of saddler, which required seven years of training. To do this, he contacted Afpa at Rodez, but to no avail, as his requests to the professionals at Aveyron always ended in rejection. Finally, in 2020, he applied for competition with Union Cepière Robert-Monnier (UCRM) in Toulouse. Places are available to take the exam.
Armelle only has one week to prepare. Gifted with market studies, he was eventually accepted and followed for twelve months of training as a coatings coating.
Intense and diligent learning that requires a lot of solicitation and personal investment. “There is a lot of pressure too because there is a lot of information and we have to study very quickly and work even on Saturday and Sunday, so as not to waste time!”, explained the young woman before explaining: “We have uncompromising teachers who galvanize the students to reach the highest!”. Granted, a very physical profession for the hands, but for all that, a training that turned out to be very promising, as the ten convention attendees earned their diplomas.
From now on, as in the past, the three year training is once again being held!
Freshly graduated, Armelle Pouchet moved into her workshop in Les Mazières, in the town of Lunac, in April 2022. After becoming the owner of the place, she has a job she loves and admires. As if remembering his first name, his study was named: L’Atelier d’Art-Mèle. Horsehair and Moss.
“When I bought Les Mazières just over three years ago it was a house that could be used to make two apartments. But after passing the entrance exam for rug training at UCRM in Toulouse it only became natural for part of the house to serve as my workshop and it arrived -Suddenly everything has to be made. Some work still needs to be done.”
From now on, upholstery renovates all seat styles, including the most unusual ones like quads and tractors. Among his services, his expertise ensures with panache in chair repair, while respecting, of course, the styles of the time.
Whether it’s a traditional restoration including springs, coils, strong cloth, bandages… or a semi-traditional one using foam, “it’s a compromise that has hold and perfect rendering”, explains the young woman. Depending on the method used, the work is very different (two days to dress a Voltaire armchair with foam compared to a week for a traditional dressing. The same goes for the frog chair which can be made in a week with foam, whereas one month is needed with the classic realization ). “For the time spent on such work, duration and comfort are guaranteed,” said the upholsterer who didn’t count the hours.
Projects and partnerships
Although the prices of supplies (fabric, foam, etc.) have increased rapidly, even doubling, even causing a shortage of horsehair in recent months, Armelle is diligently pursuing its activities. As such, he devoted himself to Louis-Philippe creations à slouches, cabriolets, armchairs and chairs of all styles. He recently made his own armchair in horsehair, but also in Jean-Paul Gaultier fabrics (to be found in his workshop in Mazières).
Although he works for individuals, he also seeks partnerships in communities and businesses. He had restored Napoleon’s armchair at the Château d’Ayres, in Lozère.
Several years ago, even before she was an upholsterer, Armelle sold art screen printing fabrics to L’Atelier de la Licorne, in Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, perfecting a technique for scenting these rugs.
With regard to the partnership and at the request of its designer, Brigitte Maes, founder of the company La Maison avidly (an interior architectural activity dedicated to sanitary and medical-social buildings) Armelle Pouchet designed eight acoustic panels for the radiology department of a hospital in Lille ; Ateliers du Rouergue (Bel-Air industrial area, in Rodez) produces niche wood. Currently, he works on wall hangings, repairing chairs and headboards for nursing homes, always partnering with his designer and Ateliers du Rouergue.
Apprentice at Onet-le-Château
Also in the project, designer bench design for the entrance hall of the hospital. Therefore, in partnership with Brigitte Maes and the carpentry workshop, Armelle wants to continue to promote, always with an aesthetic approach, acoustic panels, aimed at restaurants, nurseries, hotels, nursing homes, hospitals… Situated opposite the former Moulin du Pivert factory, Les Mazières, L’Atelier d’Art-Mèle. Crin et Mousse is open Monday to Friday, 9am to noon and 2pm to 5pm.
In order to transmit, as much as possible, this profession that tends to disappear, and besides in the pharmacy where it accepts, Armelle Pouchet provides internships, at MJC Onet-le-Château, every Saturday afternoon, until February 11 inclusive . Next, he wanted to give new lessons during the school holidays, two to three days a week, depending on demand, always at the MJC in Onet-le-Château.