Hermès at Work at Xi'an

Hermès at Work at Xi'an

From 8th to 12th August 2019, the The itinerant festival dedicated to craftsmanship “Hermès at Work” will take over the SKP atrium, where seven artisans representing seven of the Parisian house’s métiers will meet the public to share their expertise, experience and passion.

The public screenings of the Hermès “Footsteps across the World” film collection will also cover the themes of craftsmanship, innovation and the transmission of know-how.

Discover the craftsmanship workshops

  • The Watchmaker

    The watchmaker performs a perfectly executed sequence of gestures to keep time ticking. Once crafted, the hundreds of miniscule components making up a watch movement must be assembled as part of an intricate mechanical puzzle, whose pieces must interact with one hundredth of a millimetre precision. On the mainplate, which serves as the base of the movement, the watchmaker begins by attaching the barrel, which contains the balance-spring that drives the watch, and the gear-trains – the wheels and pinions that transmit the driving force. The artisan then covers them with bridges and screws, and adds the escapement – the conductor of this mechanical symphony – as well as the balance – its beating heart.

  • The Saddler

    Although focused on producing a beautiful saddle, the saddler must also ensure each creation is tailored to both the rider and the morphology of the horse, thus guaranteeing comfort and reliability. On the central wooden tree, the artisan uses saddle nails to assemble the various pieces of leather taken from a single hide to ensure durability. Trimmed, rounded and stitched by hand using the saddle stitch, the seat, quarters, panels and padded flaps must be as light as possible, mobile and capable of providing unequalled comfort and closeness to the horse.

  • The Silk Printer

    The silk printer uses the “flat frame” technique, also known as the “Lyonnaise method” in tribute to its genesis in Lyon in the 1930s. It consists of the printer placing a gauze-covered steel frame flat on a roll of pristine silk twill, pulled tautly from end to end on a printing table. A first colour is then poured onto the frame, and applied using a rubber squeegee. Subsequent colours – one per frame – are imprinted on the silk through the gauze mesh in a highly precise order. Once the final design has emerged, the scarves are dried, set, washed and prepared.

  • The Silk Engraver

    The silk engraver and graphics designer works from a hand-made, life-sized model, which is digitalised. Using a graphics tablet, which is gradually replacing tracing paper, the artisan breaks the design down into a number of layers dictated by the number of colours adorning the scarf. A stylus is then used to input each colour and the various material effects, shading and outlines. This overall view of the design indicates the style and atmosphere of the creation. The artisan can zoom in as much as needed to work on the details, as digital engraving allows for extreme precision and high-quality printing.

  • The Leatherworker

    In unassembled pieces on the workbench, a bag is a puzzle that the leatherworker must solve and stitch. The artisan starts by cutting an armful of linen thread and sheathing it in beeswax. Then, having secured a needle to each end of the thread, the leatherworker sets a perfectly choreographed ballet into motion, his arms raised like the conductor of an orchestra. Held by the thighs, the wooden sewing clamp holds the pieces of leather in place. Between the thumb and index finger, the diamond-shaped awl pierces the material and guides the needles from both sides of the hide. The criss-cross of the saddle stitch guarantees the bag’s flawless durability.

  • The Porcelain Painter

    Hermès decorates its porcelain near Limoges in France. Certain exceptional pieces are handpainted and demonstrate extremely detailed workmanship. Once the colours have been prepared, the porcelain painter uses fine sable-hair brushes to paint and a stiff nib to create the outlines of the design. Then, taking care to protect the areas that have already been painted or which are to remain unpainted, a sponge is used to stamp the flattened colours with a reserve varnish that will ultimately be removed like a film. The right dose of pigments and the mastery of the various firings will determine the radiance of the colours.

The Linker

The role of the linker is to combine two materials that are as beautiful and as different as knit and silk. On a crown bristling with needles, she threads the selvedge of a sleeve, a collar, or the edge of a knitted panel, one stitch per needle. With a tape measure and chalk she marks and checks the measurements. She then applies the silk piece on top, after having pricked it finely in the right places. Then, guided by the precise movements of the
artisan, the machine, also called a linker, stitches the two parts together with no seam and no thickness, invisibly uniting knit and silk.

Hermès at Work
G/F, Atrium, SKP shopping mall, 
261 Changan North Road, Beilin District, Xi’an

Free admission
Thursday 8th August – Monday 12th August 2019
Daily: 11am to 7pm

“Footsteps across the World” 
SKP Cinema
4/F, SKP shopping mall
261 Changan North Road, Beilin District, Xi’an

Free admission
Thursday 8th August – Monday 12th August 2019
Daily: 11:30am to 6:30pm