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The FlameOff in France

A report from Judith Roux (international contact since 2023)

 

Glasbowers of the FlameOff in 2023

The adventure of the FlameOff France

started off one evening of 2014 around a bar table where Eddie LEGUS and Frédéric DEMOISSON were discussing about the diverse flamework events taking place in the USA. They found it was a pity that nothing equivalent was taking place in France. That’s when Eddie suggested to create their own version in France to which Frédéric said « let’s go! »…. and that is how it all began.
The following year (2015) they organised the first unofficial edition of the FlameOff.
Eddie and Frédéric invited15 friends of theirs to join for 4 days of flameworking and partying in Eddie’s school’s courtyard in Plombières-les-Bains (88). Their main idea was to share techniques and ideas at the same time as creating the opportunity for glassmakers spread across the country to catch up and make new acquaintances.
After this first success and good moments shared, the FlameOff association was created and it was decided to reiterate the event the following year. That’s hos the FlameOff became both the name of the association and the name of the events organised.
 
 

The first official edition in 2016 and constant growth from then on

In 2016 was the first official FlameOff edition and participation was open to all flameworkers in France. It was still organised in Plombières-les-Bains (88), but this time at the casino as more space was needed. Participants from the previous year spread the word and 30 flameworkers joined. A guest of honour Kenan TAMAYER (USA) was even invited. Based on the participants’ enthusiasm and upon their request, the idea evolved into organising biennale editions. Frédéric DEMOISSON was then elected the association’s president, position that he still holds to this day.
The association growing from word of mouth and communication on social medias, a crowd funding campaign was launched for the creation of a short movie about the growing flamework community during the next edition in Remiremont (88) in 2017.
The campaign was a success and a short movie directed by Florian DEBU, the director of “Dernier Souffle” (Last Breath) saw the light. In complement to this first movie about a glassblowing factory closing Florian DEBU directed for the occasion “Premier Souffle” (First Breath). In this short movie he put forward the dynamism still present in the glass world and especially in this energetic flamework community. The movie is freely available on Vimeo.
This edition was a turning point in the development of the FlameOff association which saw its participation rate increase in the next 2018 edition and its first international flameworkers join.

Die Entstehung einer Glasbläsergemeinschaf

Eddis Legus (links) und Frédéric Demoisson die Gründer der FlameOff
FlameOff France association’s interest lies in:
- growing and strengthening a community around flameworking
-  Introducing flamework to a broader audience who usually does not know as much about this glass 
   technique in comparison to others
 

All Flameworking professions and educational institutions are warmly invited to share their knowledge and skills

 
All flamework professionals from bead makers, to marble makers and technical glassblowing workshops as well as educational institutions are welcome to join. The association's goal is to put forward the diversity and breadth of flamework professions through the FlameOff biennale.
During the last 2023 edition, two French educational institutions –  CERFAV and Dorian highschool – were present alongside several “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” (Best Craftman in France) in flamework techniques (beads, technical scientific glass and artistic).
Introduction workshops are organised for visitors from 2-99 years old to try out working on the torch.
A demonstration bench is set up on a stage for live demonstrations programmed throughout the FlameOff. Each participant is free to demonstrate while being filmed and live broadcasted on screens for visitors to watch. These demonstration are later on uploaded onto the FlameOff’s youtube channel. (https://www.youtube.com/@flameofffrance7323 )

 

 
Laurent MORI (Event Manager)

 

 

Karine HAUTMAN

 

 

Julie GONCE
Fabien JAUGET live on stage
Workplaces during the event Tatiana Boyarinova
Workplaces during the event Francois Leroux
Created on an idea by Eddie LEGUS, a small core team quickly formed around him to support and run the Flame Off Associaiton. Now this core group is compounded of Frédéric DEMOISSON (president), Eddie LEGUS, Karine HAUTMAN (treasurer) Julie GONCE, Laurent MORI (public event manager) Théophile CAILLE (secretary since 2022) and Judith ROUX (international contact since 2023).
The association now amounts to about 20-30 active members and volunteers. It is run on a voluntary base and adhesion fees are only asked from participants on the years when FlameOff editions are organised. The FlameOff association is not subsidized by the french governement therefore they solely rely on adhesion fees and local subventions to fund their biennale. This makes the planning of each edition time and energy consuming for the core team.
Other difficulties the association faces are linked to welcoming a public. The association undergoes an extensive planning process with the local authorities and safety department ahead for each edition of the FlameOff. Precise plans with the number of participants and expected visitors need to be submitted and approved. On the day before opening, a security commission will come check each and everyone’s working station. If one installation does not match the security requirements they can decide to withdraw their authorization to open.
On top of that is the obligation to hire security agents and rental of the space which financially weigh on the association. Since its first edition the FlameOff relocated a couple of time following the growing community’s need for more space, as well as in an effort to become more accessible to a larger public. Since 2020 they found their ground in Nancy (54) where the association is now well established. Except when invited on other events, like in Baccarat in 2019 or at the GAS Conference in Berlin and the BIG fesctival in Biot in 2024, the next editions will now take place in Nancy (54).

 

 

 

Build up of the 2023 FlameOff edition in Nancy (54)

 

 

 

 

Eddie LEGUS live on stage 2023



Eddie LEGUS und Frédéric DEMOISON live on stage 2023



Théophile CAILLE

 

 

Frédéric DEMOISSON live on stage 2023
Workplaces during the event Mathieu Grodet

Jewelry, beads, marbles, lamps and technical construction. Everything can be found here made of glass

 

 

 

Galadinner

 

Watch, join in, you can learn something

Each participant gets a space where they can install a working table and a sale booth. The space allocation is curated base off each participant’s style and affinities. It is a networking opportunity where everyone can show their specialities,  so they try for each artist/maker’s work to be highlighted.
During the FlameOff, the association runs a canteen and bar throughout the day with the help of volunteers. It is the opportunity to take breaks and snack with other participants. In the evening dinners are organised for all participants to join and mingle. On the second day a late opening and live concert is organised whilst it became tradition to hold a gala dinner on the third day. After opening hours and once the public left glass jams organically start, technique exchange and demonstration as well as collaborations take place until late at night.
From one edition to the next, new friendships bloom and the FlameOff biennale becomes like a family reunion growing every year. Some say it is their summer holidays and the association members introduce newcomers to former participants.
Latest addition of 2023 the exhibition space was available for an extra couple of days once the FlameOff closed it door to the public. Masterclasses led by participants for participants and other glass makers were organised together with an initiation course for beginners who could sign in at the initiation booth over the 4 days.
 
To attend a FlameOff as participant, the only requirements are:
- to be registered as a professional in your country of residence
- to be present at your booth and do demonstration during the duration of the FlameOff (4days)
- to have a liability insurance
- to pay the adhesion fee to the association (20€ in 2023)
 

Things to consider if you want to join :

You need to be registered as a professional in order for the association’s membership to insure you during the biennale. Security rules and requirements will be communicated beforehand and must be respected when setting up your booth. 
You will have to respect the opening hours and have someone present at your booth at all time. It is wise to think of someone to join and help you with this. You have an obligation to do demonstration for the visitors during the opening hours. The goal is for people to see glass in the making.
You will need to bring your own equipement and tools. Some glass and tools suppliers will also have booths at the FlameOff from whom you can by glass. The association will provide a table and 2 chairs for the working station but you will have to prepare and bring your presentation materials for the sale booth.
There is no financial support for participants but the spirit of the association is to only ask participant to pay an adhesion fee that is kept at the lowest possible so that most can join.  It is important to note that the association takes no commission on sales made during the FlameOff and that over 4 days, you can expect 3 000+ visitors.
However there is the possibility for equipment to be made available for glass makers coming from afar for a small extra fee. The association is working on purchasing a growing number of equipment that they can make available to participants with this rental money.
The association also offers housing and food package for a low price which relieves participants from the hassle of organisation. Lastly, they benefit from a discounted price when attending the masterclasses.

 

 

dinner together for all participants

 

 

Liveband

Application for FlameOff participation

Application process is announced on social medias (facebbok https://www.facebook.com/p/Flame-Off-France-100067843531369/ and instagram https://www.instagram.com/flame.off.france/ ) in January/February for the FlameOff taking place in July. Applications need to be submitted by March and the final selection is made in April. The next FlameOff edition to which you can apply to join is planned to take place in 2025 in Nancy!
Until then, the association will be represented by a delegation at the GAS conference which will take place in Berlin in May 2024. They will host a networking event on Thursday evening during the GAS conference where you will have the opportunity to meet some of the members and make new acquaintance around the torch. The event will be open to all, with or without conference pass. If you’re in the neighbourhood drop by to say hi! More info will come soon on the FlameOff social media pages and the GAS webpage, so stay tuned!
Another delegation will also be present at the BIG Festival in Biot (06) in September. This festival gather all glass techniques and is a great opportunity to find out more about the French glass scene. The BIG festival and the FlameOff are both biennale, but they arranged to take place not on the same years so that a glass event gathering the community takes place every year in France and you don’t have to chose between the two.
 
 

FLAME OFF France – KEY DATES

FLAME OFF Frankreich – Entwicklungslegende
2015 – 1st edition - unofficial edition organised in Eddie Legus’ school in Plombière les Bains
2016 – 2nd edition - First official FlameOff edition open to all applicants in Plombière-les-bains’ casino. The association is officially created and Frédéric DEMOISSON becomes the association’s president.
2017 – 3rd  edition - Remiremont’s conference center. Making of the movie « Un Nouveau Souffle » by Florian DEBU.
2018 –  4th edition - Remiremont’s conference center, the FlameOff takes off from there with its first international participants.
2019 – 5th edition - FlameOff is invited to join the Forum International des Métiers d’Art (FIMA) in Baccarat
2022 – 6th edition - First FlameOff edition in Nancy (54)
2023 –
7th edition - Nancy
2024 – FlameOff delegations will be present at the GAS conference in Berlin in May and in Biot for the BIG (Biot International Glass) festival
2025 – 8th Edition will take place in Nancy
 

Where to find info about the FlameOff France Association and the FlameOff Biennale

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/@flameofffrance7323
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/flame.off.france/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/p/Flame-Off-France-100067843531369/
Gas Conference https://www.glassart.org/conference/berlin-2024/
BIG festival https://www.instagram.com/b.i.g_festival/ and https://www.facebook.com/p/Biot-So-BIG-100072542192827/?locale=ms_MY
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    Read the article in german

 

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