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Passa ao Futuro, Photo Jenna Duffy © Michelangelo Foundation

by Franco Cologni

The transmission of knowledge from a master to a young artisan is a very human act, but it evokes a celestial image by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – God’s hand reaching toward Adam’s, endowing him with life. When I think about ensuring the future of fine craftsmanship, I picture a similar spark of energy that must pass from the hands of today’s masters to those of the next generation. At a time when technology often replaces the human touch, it is an urgent task.

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Photo Louis Teran © Michelangelo Foundation

An aspiring shoemaker, Arthur Veillon served as a Young Ambassador at Homo Faber, the wide-ranging exhibition of Europe’s finest craftsmanship in Venice in 2018. He is a member of Les Compagnons du Devoir, the association in which young artisans gain valuable skills through a series of apprenticeships. Arthur recently worked alongside the masters at Maison Clairvoy, the Parisian atelier that crafts the shoes worn by the famed dancers at the Moulin Rouge. To him, the opportunity was both a privilege and a responsibility: “It’s up to us, the new generation in this métier, to continue to learn in order to pass it on to the next generation after us.”

Watch a video of Arthur in the Paris atelier

Photo Louis Teran © Michelangelo Foundation

Passa ao Futuro, Photo Jenna Duffy © Michelangelo Foundation


In the past few months, we brought together dozens of young artisans and designers from across Europe to work alongside some of the continent’s finest master artisans. Imagine the chance to learn with the tapestry makers of Aubusson, Portuguese’s finest basket weavers or renowned glassblowers on a magical French island.


Photo Jenna Duffy © Michelangelo Foundation


Iany Gayo, who studied architecture in Lisbon, was one of 10 students who had the chance to learn five basket weaving methods that are on the verge of extinction. A series of woven pieces she co-created will be shown in an exhibition at the city's Popular Art Museum in the coming months. On the future of craftsmanship, she says: “It’s about having things around you that last a very long time.”

Watch the video

Photo Lola Moser © Michelangelo Foundation


Anna Elisabete Kasparsone, a designer from Latvia, was one of 25 students who immersed themselves in Aubusson’s centuries-old art form and together produced a large-scale tapestry. “It was interesting to collaborate”, she says. “We did sketches, research, a mood board to understand the color palette.”

Watch the video

Photo Marc Baudrillart © Michelangelo Foundation


Iona Crawford Topp, a potter based in Ireland, was one of eight students who learned the glassmaking craft with four internationally renowned masters on an island off the coast of France. She marveled at the teamwork in creating the large pieces. “When glassblowing was described as a dance, I thought people were using romantic language, but it is actually completely accurate.”

Watch the video

Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art


Europe has some of the world’s finest educational institutions that are preparing the next generation of fine artisans and their designer partners. More than 25 of them are part of the Michelangelo Foundation’s network of like-minded organisations.

Browse the schools on our website

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