We've had a number of questions regard the reported fire at one of the Au Ver à Soie facilities Thursday night near Bracieux, France.The link below is from a French news article (you will need to translate it):
Tricia from Thistle Threads has been in contact with the family since the fire occurred and posted some really great information on her Cabinet of Curiosities NING board (only open to her students). I have posted a modified version of her post with Tricia's permission. We will be hearing more details in the next couple of weeks so stayed tuned - we'll post more information as it becomes available. Many thanks to Tricia for her words in this regard.
Au Ver à Soie is wounded but not devastated. We will learn much more early next week after the family can better access the plant. Marc and Nathalie are brother and sister and the current members of the Boucher family to run Au Ver a Soie.
This is terrible loss for Au Ver a Soie as it comes on the heals of the loss of two of Marc and Nathalie's close family in the waning months of 2014.
The one thing to know is that this is a family that is devoted to the production of silk and has suffered much deeper losses in the past that they had to rebound from. In fact, their entire factory was bombed by the American's by mistake in WWII and they had to totally rebuild - and did. This is something that is a bonus about ancient family businesses, they often take the long view and this will be something that they come back from. One of the things that they had realized from the former disaster is the importance to distribute the expertise, machinery and stock to ward against singular disasters bringing down a company and had planned for that wisely over the years. While the capability at this plant was severely damaged - they have a network of machines, partners, etc around France they work with who can help them weather this as well as who were already doing some of the braiding and other things we enjoy in our threads. Stock was distributed in multiple places too. I (Tricia) am confident that we are not in imminent danger because of how distributed the manufacturing, dyeing, and post operations were - especially on our needlework threads.
Here in the US we should not be as concerned about the machinery losses - an example being a new skeining machine that was destroyed - as that operation is done at Access Commodities in Texas (US distributor for AVAS) for the US threads (we prefer a different size/packaging in this market). So some capability losses won't impact us in the US as they are already shifted to machinery here. What is of concern is time. In any small business, there isn't an excess of labor and so things like this delay new initiatives in favor of getting basic operations back running. Some things taking longer to get back to, especially in the area of new product development.
You will likely hear about the fire in the future from shops, designers and teachers as the reason something is delayed - but don't fear - it isn't about a total loss of capabilities, it is more about a diversion of valuable time until they get this few weeks or months to rebuild out of the way.
What you can do though is express to Marc and Nathalie support of the embroiderers who love their materials and efforts. This on top of the emotional toil from their close family losses last year. They could use some 'appreciation' from us at the moment. Perhaps a card with a picture of an embroidery of yours using their threads - or one in progress. Let them know that you so appreciate their dedication to fine, quality materials and supporting this course. They are lovely people.
Marc Boucher and Nathalie Borhorel
Au Ver a Soie
102 rue Reaumur