The Craftsman

Olivier Vernet

For more than 10 years now, my work has been bringing new life to the facades of French monuments. I like to restore volume to ornamentation on which time and weather have erased the details. I also take pleasure in creating original works to decorate and embellish private gardens and homes.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always had an affinity for music, drawing, modeling and anything else related to the arts.

Worried that art was too “recreational” to be a profession, I took a more conventional route and went on to study business.

I quickly realized that this was not the career for me. I was driven by a desire to create with my hands, to work with materials and create works that would endure over time.

So in August 2010, I set off on this new path at the AFPA in Blois, with a view to becoming a stonemason. Once I’d obtained my CAP, I joined a number of large monument restoration companies. I’ve had the privilege of working on Orléans Cathedral, Château de Chambord and Notre-Dame de Cléry-Saint-André Basilica.

To hone my skills and perfect my technique, I then spent a year training with Mr Marc Chevalier-Lacombe, Master Craftsman Sculptor in Villesiclaire (Loir-et-Cher).

At the same time, I carried out various commissions for private individuals to decorate their homes: bread ovens, wall fountains, garden benches …

Having fallen in love with Blois, I decided to set up my workshop here, where I practice my passion.

On a regular basis, I continue to train in several techniques, particularly modelling, taking nude classes with Marie-Christine CADIAU in Semur-en-Auxois, on the land where I was born, as well as drawing classes with various professionals.

Indeed, ornamental work on stone often requires drawing and modelling in clay, as well as taking impressions in plaster and other techniques…

All these skills sharpen my sense of observation, which is essential to my work.