Gabriel Navarro and Gaël Mayeur are respectively blacksmith and cutler. Their workshop is located in a natural setting, among oaks and century-old chestnut trees, in the town of Cagnano in Cap Corse. It is a journey of imagination with the sound of the hammer on the anvil, the smell of sawdust, the heat of the forge...Precise ancestral processes are used, whether working the blade or the handle of a knife, shaping a spedu, a peg, a door handle or a simple nail!
Let's try to find out a little more about Gabriel and Gaël, two passionate, atypical and very friendly craftsmen! Joint interview…
How does Corsica inspire you? Do you use materials from your natural environment?
Our establishment is in a very rural valley, very little urbanised, almost depopulated. It is difficult in many respects, but for our work it is an asset. We benefit from quality materials as well as from a natural and quiet environment.
I believe that you are both very environmentally aware, that you have an eco-responsible approach right down to the manufacturing stages of your products. Can you tell us a little more?
Yes, that's very true. We do pay attention to it. For my part, I choose to work almost exclusively with charcoal made in the workshop rather than with fossil fuels such as gas or mineral coal. In the reconstruction of the workshop, in the management of our business waste, in our interaction with the forest. Ecology is the absolute priority of our era; no professional activity should overlook this for reasons of profit.
What are your leading products? What items are most requested by your customers? Do you work to order?
In ironwork, I quite often work on handrails for walls in village streets and for stairs. My clients for these are both individuals and local authorities. Apart from that, my projects are very varied. I mainly work to order.
The natural and professional environment of your workshop location is conducive to reflection. Do you have any projects on the site? Is it conducive to creation?
We have a few projects not directly related to the forge, outside. In the long term, we would like to create a small sunny enclave with fruit trees, vines, a stone bread oven, a low furnace... We would also like to make customer reception a little nicer.
You have chosen to share a workshop while exercising two different professions, in what ways do you complement each other?
It is difficult to speak of complementarity on a technical level. Basically, we live together and help each other out when necessary, and it is especially nice to be able to work with a friend. It is also very beneficial to be able to ask the opinion of an outside person when a problem arises, from time to time. The work required of us for the rehabilitation of the place would have been, I believe, unthinkable alone, for him or for me.
Do you have any projects you work on together?
Up to now, we tend to collaborate in particular when my ironwork sites become too large and I need someone to lend me a hand. But in the future who knows!
Is the passing on of your know-how important?
The passing on of knowledge is very important, mainly because we ourselves have benefitted from it, so we must pass the torch on. When you are passionate about something, you like to share that passion. Me, I like that, the more you explain something, the more you understand it yourself. We plan to offer introductory courses soon.
Where can we find your works? Are you present on social networks?
We work to order via email, social networks and telephone. With respect to our designs, we welcome visitors on site, at the forge in Cagnano. We also exhibit on Facebook and a merchant site is being created.