March 23 to April 23, 2016

The Canadian Guild of Crafts (La Guilde) and the Centre des métiers du cuir de Montréal (CMCM) eagerly presented Griffe, Contemporary Fine Leather Craftmanship, putting forward originality and craftsmanship within the best leatherwork and leather cladding creations. This was the very first exhibition of La Guilde focusing solely on fine leather craftsmanship. From March 23 to April 23, 2016, La Guild welcomed its visitors to discover the fascinating work of twelve professional and emerging artists and artisans who have been selected following a call for submissions. All of the chosen artworks are highly bold and innovative, either by the techniques or the materials used, since they all go beyond the simple functionality of the object.

Gathering the works of Jennifer Beaudoin-Boisvert, Corinne bourget et Robin Sirois, Jérôme Daneau-Pitre, Ana María Del Valle Pinzón, Maylissa François, Niki Jessup, Claire Kusy, Jordan Lajoie, Diane Lefebvre, Émilie Longchamps and Emmanuelle Michalet, Griffe, Contemporary Fine Leather Craftmanship was foremost a showcase for Quebec’s contemporary fine leather craftsmanship, highlighting the exceptionally skilled local artists and artisans.


    La Guilde organized once more a workshop/artist talk about the various leatherwork and leather cladding techniques. This activity was held at La Guilde, Friday, April 1st, 2016, from 6 to 8 P.M. and was be conducted by Laurence Drubigny from the Centre des métiers du cuir de Montréal assisted by Jérôme Daneau-Pitre, an exhibiting artist and student graduating from the CMCM. Free admission.

    Also, Tuesday, April 5, 2016, from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M. La Guilde held The Slow Made – Tendance cuir, a meet and greet with fashion accessory designer Marie-Anne Miljours, creator of the Montreal based brand MATU. Free admission.


    The exhibition theme was inspired by the pricking iron or pricking wheels, tools that are necessary for leather craftsmanship (griffe in French). Furthermore, the word “griffe” has multiple meanings such as a signature, a trademark, connecting it with the fashion world; but let’s not forget that “griffe”, literally translated as claw, is also a natural defence system for a variety of animals. This last idea leads us to the meaning of scratching. If you scratch someone, you leave a mark, an imprint on that person. Therefore, the definitions being variable, what does “griffe” represent for each artist and artisan taking part in this exhibition?


    Ornamental leather work, originally of European tradition, remained very little known here; it was about time for the North American public to discover the quality and originality of the creations made locally. For this very reason, the Centre des métiers du cuir de Montréal’s mission has always been to promote and bring out the best in leather crafting and to represent their artisans’ skills in Quebec and on the international stage. The Centre, a post-secondary education establishment, has been making every effort education-wise and in terms of research on leather crafts, as well as their promotion. Over time, it has become the gatekeeper of a specific skill set, which, had it not existed, would have been threatened. Each of the Centre’s members, whether a student, teacher or artisan, is personally an ambassador of their own craft, of a culture that needs to be preserved.

    Photos: Exhibition views, 2016.