Know-how: Pastel is part of French cultural heritage

In Occitania, the pastel sector is represented by twenty companies “Pastel finishing materials”almost 30 “finishing of textiles with natural colors” (including pastel), a community of master dyers, artisans and creator-designers, as well as researchers and scientists working to optimize the extraction and dyeing process…

Therefore, it is an entire economic sector, rooted in the local economy
conservation and transmission, a unique tourist and cultural attraction that are therefore rewarded by this inclusion in “French Intangible Cultural Heritage.”

In particular, this means that pastel masters will now be able to benefit from the logo “Intangible cultural heritage of France” for promote their production locally and for export.

“Presentation of crafts of the region”

The Chamber of Craftsmen of Occitania (CMAR Occitanie), with the support of the Occitanie Region, has long been committed “to highlight and energize the artistic professions of our region.” This work is particularly illustrated by activities to promote and support business development.

Archive image (2018): Pastel at a micromarket in Toulouse… Photo by Pascale WALTER

Among the goals and missions of this approachidentification of rare and/or specific knowledge and experiences of the region. “This is one of our priorities, in order to promote them and best support their transmission,” we specify in the Chamber of Crafts. Therefore, CMAR Occitanie wanted to bring together a community of pastel painters to create an inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in France.

CMAR Occitanie supported the work of the meetings, writing and proofreading of the registration form for the knowledge and experience of pastel painting in the Pays de Cocagne, together with our author Chantal-Armagnacfrom Drac Occitania

“Knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation”

The official application submitted by CMAR Occitanie at the beginning of June 2021 and the Commission for Ethnological and Intangible Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, at a meeting issued a positive opinion on inclusion on June 29, 2021 from “Know-how related to pastel coloring, in the land of plenty” in the national list of ICH.

Its official registration has now been identified in the category “Knowledge and know-how” on the website of the ministry. It can be said that this is the first inclusion in the national list of ICH carried out by a Chamber of Crafts!

Symbol of the Occitanie regionthis official registration now allows to recognize pastel coloring as a know-how associated with traditional craftingalso “a life practice that meets the ethical principles of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of ICH and knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation with little academic education,”

ICH also recognizes the activity “in constant renewal, a community of involved practitioners, research, experiments and multiple development projects at different levels of the sector and finally renewal of practice in the spirit of sustainable development.”

Investment by a community of professionals

“This official recognition it testifies to our deep commitment to the defense and maintenance of rare and extraordinary craftsmanship in the Occitanie region, and to the investment of the community of pastel artists who keep this sector alive today. The problems and impacts are significant for our territory and our heritage” highlighted Serge Crabiepresident of CMAR Occitanie.

Philippe MORET

Let’s talk a little, let’s talk Pastel…

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