Jura, France. It all began in the small town of Morez, the birthplace of French spectacle-making. Spectacle-makers came together to pass on their knowledge. Holders of the title of Best Craftsmen in France, an annual accolade that rewards the most highly qualified and innovative craftsmen in their field, in 2011 they opened an independent training center for all professionals in the optical industry. These craftsmen wear lab coats sporting the words “one of the best craftsmen in France,” a measure of the humility of these craftsmen who have chosen to teach their skills to trainees.
A la carte internships
In their fully equipped workshops, they host interns – a maximum of three per trainer, to provide them with properly individual support – for one to four days. Machinery, prototyping tables, tools, and materials are all in place for the interns to train in the techniques of made-to-measure in optimum conditions.
There are twelve modules available, including measurements, design, prototyping, craft or digital manufacture; working with wood or acetate; repairs, and decorating frames. No-one is obliged to follow the full curriculum.
On the contrary, trainees come to learn the basics or upgrade their skills, to specialize in a material, or to gain experience of computer-aided design. As well as learning about made-to-measure, at MOF the learning itself is made to measure!
These internships go well beyond valuable work experience, providing an exciting human adventure for all the scheme’s beneficiaries. Beneath the imposing respectability of their lab coats, the MOFs are very approachable and attentive to all their interns.
Knowing how to do it makes for better teaching
From handcrafting to design to technology tools, everyone pitches in, including the trainers: whatever they ask their interns to do, they themselves know how to do.
One of the trainers, Pascal Lacotte, is also specialized in high-end, made-to-measure eyewear. His lessons are a real treasure trove of teaching for all opticians and spectacle-makers who want to learn these complex techniques.
Having completed one or more internships, optical industry professionals can take up made-to-measure and offer it themselves in their store or collections – a string to their bow that would have been difficult to develop without the teaching of these six Best Craftsmen in France.
Featured image: Pascal Lacotte, MOF