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    L'Atelier du Vitrail sera présent au Forum France-Chine à CHENGDU du 22 au 26 Octobre 2014

    Historic and exhibitions / About Us

    To start with, Philippe Riffaud passed two professional Certificates, one as a mechanical metal worker and the other one as an industrial designer. He then left France for two years to do his military service in Noumea and it is only when he came back, in 1986, that he decided to take up stained glass art. In 1987, he went to Chartres to do a training with the Master glass artist Pierre Millous, who taught him all his secrets and techniques about restoration and taught him how to make dalle de verre. During this same year, Philippe Riffaud went in for the SEMA competition and he wan the 1st regional prize and the 7th national prize in 1989. He then met another Master Glass artist, Van Guy from Tours, and he started working with him in 1990. This very rich professional experience taught him a lot, especially how to work with a team and how to deal with a big quantity of orders for antique stained glass restoration works, such as a 13th century glass wall, a 14th century window in the nave and several church windows from the 16th century in the St Gatien cathedral in Tours; all these restorations being subject to the techniques recommended by the Historic Monuments Laboratory (LRMH). In 1992, he went to Lausanne in Switzerland to work in Pierre Chiara’s Studio, where he met several other artists like Jean Prain, Bodjol, Georg Matt, Bernard Viglino etc. This experience was a new step in his training insofar it lead him to discover the complexity of managing a studio but also the ins and outs of contemporary stained glass creations, which attracts him a lot… In the meanwhile, Françoise Théallier started training as a glass artist in Van Guy’s Studio located next to St Gatien cathedral in Tours. During that period of time, she was in charge of several geometric windows for the Loire Valley Castles. These repetitive patterns required an infallible technique and concentration. She also  worked for the restoration of the St Gatien cathedral windows and she trained as a glass painter. Thanks to her qualities and efficiency, she as well wan the Departmental and Regional SEMA prize in 1991. Between 1992 and 1993, she improved her skills working with Weinling in St Appolinaire near Dijon, where she took part, among other things, in the restoration of Beaune hospice stained glass windows. Both fortified by their solid experience in restoration, they started to develop their own technique in the matter of conservation, making protective double glazing, especially useful to protect the 19th century stained glass windows from weather damage and to increase their longevity. This technique has already been used in Switzerland but it is still rare in the Poitou-Charente region. They are commissioned by the town of Poitiers to work on several old buildings: Stained glass windows on the City Hall façade, Saint-Hilaire church (on UNESCO’s World List), St Louis chapel, St Jean de Montierneuf church (Historic Monument), Ste Thérèse church, Ste Jeanne d’Arc  church, St Louis chapel (Historic Monument), etc. all in Poitiers (86), France.

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