A reference in the artisan world, the bimonthly review Le Monde des Artisans relates the activity of French artisans and offers them a forum to express themselves. Geared towards professionals with traditional know-how, the newspaper informs them of the latest news, innovations and provides them with advice. Apprenticeships, elections, networks, economic outlook, the topics cover all aspects of entrepreneurs’ lives. Since 2015, a personal story section completes the other sections, highlighting successful creators who want to share their experience, their love of the work and the region where they operate. September, extraction season, in Le Monde des Artisans, cutlery makes its entry: dialogue with Jean-Henri Pagnon Atelier JHP, who inspired by the blade, is forging his own legend.
LE MONDE DES ARTISANS | CUTLERY FORGES ITS LEGEND
Le Monde des Artisans is interested in knives and interviews us. Focus on Loire-Atlantique, the Guérande peninsula, Saint-André-des-Eaux, a region that henceforth has its cutlery. As a knife enthusiast since childhood, on my arrival in Brière I immediately looked for the local knife. I was astonished to find there wasn’t one. Well! Surprise! An absence I am going to try to correct very quickly. How? By reading! Well yes, it was after reading the pages of Châteaubriant’s “La Brière” that I became acquainted with the material that would change my life. Brière natives had been unknowingly walking for years and years over a treasure. With this discovery, another legend was born, that of Atelier JHP.
CUTLERY AND MORTA | A TOUCH OF WOOD FOR A STRONG CHARACTER
The trunks of oak trees have been fossilizing in the peaty soil of Brière for 5,000 years now. In fact, the artisanal review underlines that to begin with “the oak trees reigned supreme” over the region. Buried in today’s marshes, they fed off the land to slowly metamorphose into this wood, unique in the world, that we call Morta. At first glance, I understand that I am holding here the ideal partner for a top quality blade.
Belonging to local land owners, of which I am one, the Morta officially earned pride of place and serves as raw material for the manufacture of knife handles, the now renowned Morta Knives.
ART CUTLERY | ART ABOVE ALL
I clearly explain my position to the journalist from Le Monde des Artisans immediately, I want a high-end product; productivity is not one of my main criteria. So I develop 3 categories of knives: the kitchen and table knives, the fixed knives and the folding knives. The production is nearly 5,000 units a year. To do this, I need to extract a good twenty trunks every year. Sometimes plain, sometimes enhanced with mammoth ivory or a thin blue layer of vulcanized fibre, the handles compete in strength and purity. I insist on the “clear-cut” character of these little cutlery gems.
Each new model begins with 25 numbered pieces “that are snapped up in a few minutes” in my shop in Saint-André-des-Eaux or on my website.
OUR CUSTOMERS | OUR AMBASSADORS
A clientele typology? Difficult! The foot traffic in the workshop and shop bear witness to the heterogeneity of our visitors. Their common ground is primarily their passion, some are collectors, all are aesthetes and nature lovers. For all those people, I insist on “impeccable after-sales service, the sense of welcome and customer service, sharpening or repair on demand”. The encounter, the attentiveness and well-crafted packaging complete the process of persuading customers, “all leave while becoming our ambassadors”.
MORTA KNIVES| A QUIRKY COMMUNICATION
Morta Knives are not sold, they are bought. The videos tell the life of the workshop but I like to include a quirky tone in them. The idea is to share daily life with our subscribers. That’s how they found out, among other things, that the coffee of Atelier JHP is prepared in Léon’s kitchen, the one from the film, yes, yes! On a passionate subject, you don’t communicate seriously, you work seriously!
Le Monde des Artisans ends its report by recalling our title of Artisan of the Year 2021 at the Arts & Métiers competition organized by CMA France and Banque Populaire.
LITTLE ALMANACH OF THE JHP CUTLERY WORKSHOP
2011: I create the company
2015: Arte TV channel broadcasts a first report Douces France(s)
2018: 100 m2 of workshop comes into being in Saint-André-des-Eaux
2020: the 6th employee arrives
2021: Artisan of the year at the Stars & Métiers competitionWant to know more about Atelier JHP? Put on your glasses and get comfortable !