Prix Gaïa 2015 – Anita Porchet. Craftsmanship-Creation
The Jury for the Gaïa Prize has chosen to pay tribute to the key role played by Anita Porchet, along with the perseverance and independence she has demonstrated in revitalising a dying art: enamelling.
Born on 15 January 1961 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Anita Porchet discovered a passion for the arts at the age of 12. Working on various enamelling projects for watchmaking companies since the eighties’, Anita Porchet has never compromised her independent status.
After obtaining the Swiss Matura qualification, Anita Porchet undertook a preparatory year's study at the Ecole d’Arts Appliqués (School of Applied Arts) in La Chaux-de-Fonds, before beginning her studies at the Ecole d’Arts de Lausanne (School of Fine Arts) in 1980.
After working on various enamelling projects for watchmaking companies, she obtained her specialist engraving and enamelling certificate in 1984, at the tender age of 23. The experience she gained through her private tuition with the enameller Elizabeth Juillerat in Geneva played an instrumental part in her being awarded the Patek Philippe prize that same year.
From 1985 to 1992, she returned to the School of Applied Arts in La Chaux-de-Fonds to teach Art, Crafts and Enamelling. Alongside her teaching work, Anita Porchet undertook enamelling projects for private clients and exhibited her work with the enamellers' group.
After completing a large number of jobs, she decided to set up in Lausanne where she based her studio. Her artistic talents went from strength to strength: she had the opportunity to exhibit several times, notably in Paris, in 1994, with a work completed in collaboration with painter F. Froehlich, in Morez (France) showcasing modern enamelled jewellery, along with a solo exhibition at the Geneva Museum of Watchmaking the following year.
Since 1995, she has been working on enamelling projects for companies with a strong reputation in the watchmaking arts (Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget) and industry expertise (Hermès, Chanel). Her involvement in the watchmaking industry has earned her a certain renown, as she has established a reputation as one of the leading specialists in her field. Although she is highly sought-after in the industry, Anita Porchet has never compromised her independent status.
This career choice has taken her on a series of interesting trips and exhibitions. On her travels, she has had the opportunity to lead enamelling demonstrations in Japan, Florence, New York, Paris, and Shanghai. She has showcased her artistic talents through her involvement in group exhibitions at various venues in Switzerland (e.g. the Galerie Pomone in Lutry, the Galerie Rouge in Morges and the Fondation l’Estrée in Ropraz), Strasbourg and Geneva ("Swiss Jewellery in the 20th Century").
Anita Porchet has created some enamelling masterpieces, using various techniques, but mainly in miniature. She also practises paillonné enamelling, an extremely rare technique. The paillons consist of tiny motifs (also called paillettes) which are cut in various shapes from gold leaf.
Anita Porchet's most famous works include her miniature reproduction of the ceiling of the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris for Vacheron Constantin, and the creation of a pocket watch entitled "Dawn on the Lake", to mark the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe. The secret of the enamelling on these unique timepieces lies in her hands. For the last 17 years, she has been working out of her studio in her home village of Corcelles-le-Jorat, Switzerland.