Saugues: Gévaudan ul Mill, a place out of time

It is a unique place in Sauges with a view from the open-air verandah of the Margaritas Mountains. It contributes to both a return to employment and regional development, as was the wish of the Ateliers de la Bruyer, who dedicated the space entirely to wool, purchased and vested by the Town Hall, on the site of the Bordes mushroom factory. Integration Association.

A museum is created and finished with adversity where the visitor feels at home

La Lainerie du Gévaudan is a museum of adversity and edge, planted from recycled materials, which gives it a special cassette. Visitors feel at home here. The museum restores the furry history of the country of Sauges. Here, reproduction began, called the Middle Ages. La Marzaride was a transhuman country for Languedoc livestock. This breed remains an economic power, as evidenced by the presence of the fourth sheep market in France.
Apart from that, today sheep are kept for meat and milk. Wool is being considered as a by-product, which was not the case in the past. It is not unreasonable that in the 16th or 17th century it was not customary to speak of “wool animals” and sheep.
Installed in July 2020 on the eve of the first captivity, Lainerie du Gévaudan has yet to really find its place in the tourist offer. As the season begins, don’t immerse yourself in why it looks like a huge workshop out of time. The birth of the museographic adventure took place just half a dozen years ago at the behest of a small group of volunteers, close to Bruno Depale, president of Atelier de la Bruyre, and his wife Brigitte, who worked at the National Textile Art Workshop in Paris. He was the one who started the work of feeling in Saugues.President Bruno Depale is a fan of the wool world

Volunteers have tried to collect documents and materials to lay the foundation of a place of memory and knowledge. The wool work in the integration project, a local resource, is old: it was born in the early 2000s, when page hosiery still existed. Its manager, Gerard Page, donated some of the equipment to the new museum so that it would not be discarded. Continue taking museum equipment. Collections are never fixed.
Ateliers de la Bruyère also worked with Laurent Lane to save the last activity of wool washing in France. In Saugues, history, present and future come together.

Museums, shepherds and flocks

The creators of the museum thought of the young masses, offering them the possibility to follow the visit through the story of a pet, the painter Anne-Gail Pralang, the little wild cat Chafil, dreamed of being a shepherd’s cat. La Lainerie du Gévaudan proudly features visuals, machines and testimonials from former industrialists via video. It is discovered along the way and it is never boring. The inspection is carried out by volunteers, employees and integrated people.
Before talking about wool, it is advisable to talk about sheep, Saugues three large rustic breed swings, Bizet, Blanche du Massif Central, Noire du Velay with different sheep which avoid the need for dye. When we talk about sheep, the shepherd is never far away. They were with the beatings, two essential characters of the village of North Gewaudan. In villages where the right to smoke was prevalent. Depending on the number of livestock, farmers were given nocturnal manure (weds were written). And to get closer, they had tsabone (Occitan Tsabana which means cabin). Journalist Jean Grimaud photographed the caravan far away from the Chanelles used as a closed bed, which was converted in the 1960s … into a hut. The picture has entered the museum! As well as many other objects: cowbells made in Herald, an impressive rack rescued from a nearby farm, various types of scissors used for cutting glass, were gradually replaced by electric grass machines. A video shot on Vernet’s Harvey portal shows the strategy. Shearing, which is practiced when entering the sheepfold or at the end of winter, is an essential step before the world of crafts and art.A tsabon or shepherd’s hut was photographed by Jean Grimwood in the 1960s.

The shepherd, again, wore a cape lined with a woolen cloth. This tough and rustic fabric was called Cadis du Gavoudan. “In winter, farmers worked on their own sheep’s wool. Women and children wash it, men weave it. In the early 18th century, we found 50 weavers in Sauges, 17 in Monistrol-d’Aliar. This woolen cloth was sold locally but also abroad. Production standards were strict. The European Union has not invented anything! The demand was such that production was no longer sufficient, so much so that imports began from the Levant, Turkey, Syria … The plague that came with them in 1722 killed 5,000 people in Gavoudan “, explains Bruno Depale. Another feature of the shepherd, his cane And the whip that he carried on his shoulders during the days of the Saint-Michel fair to show that he was free from any contract.
Once torn, the wool is sorted according to its uses: padding (Laurent Lane is a mattress manufacturer), insulation (for the record, the museum building is completely heated using wool treated with essential oils), felt, yarn processing, including starting carding.

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Production is industrialized

The fur is stored in the curls, then washed. “When we bring in a ton, about 500 kg of clean wool comes out of the wash,” said Bruno Depal. He is immortal in this regard: “Wool has hair strands, which give it the ability to feel. Thanks to the heat, for the soap, the scales separate, the threads get stuck. We feel. ”From inside the museum, visitors discover the work of this element, a specialty of the place.
The museum cannot ignore the artwork of wool. Let’s think. Laurent Spinning Mill stopped production in the 1980s. It continues, but on the mattress. The Bouard et fils company, founded in 1920, began working with local wool. Jean and his brother Paul, the son of creator Louis Bouard, equip themselves with modern equipment and work with wool from the Southern Hemisphere, traveling north of France before cutting at Moulin de Barrande Sauges. While the company focuses on textiles for aviation, wool is rarely combustible. The company ceased its activities in the growing global market in the late 1990s, but without filing for bankruptcy. This is one of Jean Bouard’s pride.

Nitter of Anne Sinclair’s sweater

The Pages, another well-known family in the textile industry, employs a hundred women in Brivadois and North Loser. They created the Lanotex Company (where Emmaus is located today). Gerard, son, set up a hosiery business. He is said to be the weaver of Anne Sinclair’s sweater, while the journalist presented the famous show Sept Sur Sept. The company was active until the early 2010s. A Swiss machine sold at the museum could be re-launched. A small production of weaving from local wool has been envisioned in the service workshop.
You will not be able to finish your visit without seeing the temporary exhibition of the museum. The latter is dedicated to an Englishman, John Holcar (18th century) who influenced the textile industry in France. The man went through Saugues and Le Puy. A memorable arrival, on June 29, 1964, on the eve of the first attack of the Beast of Gevoudan.

Philip Souk

Roll, wet, soap, weave your work back

From the museum space, visitors discover the work of feeling created in the Integration Workshop.
A machine was made for the wool workshop with the help of engineering students at Sigma Clermont-Ferrand. This makes it possible to design large sheets of felt. “We do what the Mongols do in the steppe by pulling the roller behind the horse,” smiled Bruno Depale. Staff at Ateliers de la Bruyère make for the Toulouse customer, a piece of felt three times the thickness, to become a shock absorber for horseback riding (placed under the saddle). It all starts with a bell of carded noir du vale wool or pre-felted wool, which must be thoroughly wet and with soap (with Marseille soap), then go through the felt machine. According to the principle of the rotating pin, the mechanical action is done three times a quarter of an hour, allowing the fibers to be trapped. When the piece is well felt, it goes through the washing machine at 95, then through an industrial iron. These felt pieces require careful craftsmanship, to avoid creases.When the piece is well felt, it goes into the washing machine.

Les Ateliers de la Bruyère celebrated their 30th anniversary. It was a local social worker, Bernadette Gibbert, who founded the Integration Association, which began with professional activity before starting perceived work and giving birth to a space workshop. The raw material has been felt to use cheap fur, but with the idea of ​​taking advantage of the passage of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Many, many items are made, including a seamless pilgrim’s beret. Its design is protected by submission to the National Institute of Industrial Property. But commercial success was unfortunately not at the meeting place.

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