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Paris Transformations

24 May 2023 | 4 minutes
quiet, cobbled street in Paris

Paris courtyard, Spring 2023

This spring Mike Axinn and I went to Paris to see how artisans are able to practise their craft in a vibrant, urban setting. We wanted to discover more about the relevance of traditional skills in a world of 21st century technologies.

man in workshop holding knife

Sylvain Maenhout, knife maker

First we met Sylvain Maenhout who gave up a conventional career and moved his family out of central Paris to devote his life to making kitchen knives.

Release date: 26 May 2023

woman standing with a variety of violas and cellos

Judith Kraft, luthier (maker of stringed instruments)

We also spoke with Judith Kraft who left America to establish herself in Paris as a Luthier, making viola da gambas. She tells of her process - from choosing the wood in the Jura to passing the instrument to its new owner and hearing it play in their hands.

Release date: Summer 2023

smiling man standing with a selection of sheet metal samples

Steaven Richard, artistic metalworker

Then we visited Steaven Richard, whose passion for horses took him around the world as a blacksmith, discovering architecture that inspired his fine artistic metalwork. As demand for his work grew he moved to a larger facility where his team of blacksmiths and metalworkers combine traditional skills with new technology.

Release date: Summer 2023

smiling man holding jewellery in a box

Xavier Montoy, jewellery designer & maker

Finally we met Xavier Montoy who grew up in a family of doctors and was always keen on biology. When he chose an artistic route he focussed on endangered insects to highlight their importance in the eco-system. He tells how his passion for insects led him to create jewellery with the Sternocera beetle.

Release date: Summer 2023

All of these artisans told us tales of transformation and spoke of sourcing and creating from their chosen materials with passion and purpose.


Producer: Sarah Monk

Producer and editor: Mike Axinn

Music Credits: courtesy of Epidemic Sound

  • Incertae, Bladverk Band

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