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Valencian Association of ceramic AVEC-Guild (AVEC Gremio) offers numerous services to businesses and artisans and makes available to the sector their Centre of services and Promotion of Valencian ceramic to the industry. This center has more than 3,000 m² and is located in Manises. Its president, José Vicente Montesa, explained in detail the operation of the entity in this interview.

What are the main objectives of AVEC-Guild?

Its objectives should be highlighted: the defense of the interests of businesses and artisans, commercial development, promotion of ceramics, worker training and projects implementation of interest to the sector.

This association was initially focused on collective bargaining and on the promotion of products manufactured. Nevertheless over the past two decades the activity was reinforced going to manage projects of common interest in various fields: environment, training, risk prevention, energy saving, innovation, design , etc., as well as the creation of the collective brand ‘Cerámica de Manises’.

The company is headquartered in Manises, specifically in the Centre of services and Promotion of Valencian ceramic. Can you explain what this building houses?

We have headquarters in this center since September 1997. It has four floors and has a permanent exhibition of ceramic and porcelain products. Its surface occupies approximately 500 m², is open every working day of the year and is aimed exclusively at professional buyers. We also have the Avec-Guild Shop, which opened in February 2013. It is receptive to the public and offers products of associated companies covered under the collective brand ‘Cerámica de Manises’, which groups more than 25 Valencian companies of artistic ceramics and decorative and functional porcelain.

We also have an auditorium and meetings and training classrooms which are fully equipped with computers, projectors, etc. On the other hand, we must mention the Workshop School, with 820 m², and complete equipment: furnaces, lathes, drawing classroom, laboratory responsible for the quality control and research, warehouse, etc. In recent months, the Workshop School has been opened to the craftsmen of Manises and other towns in the Region, as well as to students from the School of Ceramics of Manises. Several projects such as the Ceramics in the School, Ceramic Experiences and others from promotion of ceramics in its artistic, cultural and tourist aspects.

Which are the main services offered by AVEC-Guild?

We offer companies, potters and craftsmen services in the areas of administration, training, legal, labor, advocacy and institutional. We can list a few: point of sale in Avec-Guild Shop, promotion and visibility of products, advice and support on export procedures, participation in collective exhibitions, search and attracting buyers. We also provide the permanent exhibition of products for professional buyers, marketing efforts, support for promotion projects, design and trends, or translation service in French and English, among others.

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ANPEC and AVEC-Guild organized last January the activity cycle ‘Dialogues with fire’.  What was the experience? Would you like to repeat similar activities soon or in the coming months?

It has been a very positive experience in which participants have learned about types of cooking with firewood. They also have experienced, worked and performed with great ceramists professionals their own products by sharing knowledge and experience in a relaxed atmosphere. Not only we will repeat experiences like this, or like that one of last October’s international ceramics event called ‘El turno del torno’, but we will do our best to encourage them. These cycles of nature activities in participating ceramists from other countries favor the exchange of technical ceramics.

Could you advance us which will be the action lines and objectives for 2016?

For this year, the challenge that AVEC-Guild arises is to further advance in the objectives that it has set in a medium and long term. We want to increase sector competitiveness, boost cooperative relations initiated and promoted associations. We also wish to support the craft activity from sustainability criteria and to increase research in the sector, looking for new projects and giving continuity to the ones that have already undertaken.

What events or milestones would you highlight since you are president?

Since my joining to the Board or occupying the presidency, the most important milestones have been building the Centre of services and Promotion of Valencian ceramic to the industry, the merger between the Guild and AVEC, the building of the Workshop School, the joining to the Spanish Confederation of Glass and Ceramics and subsequent adherence to the state collective agreement and also the opening of Avec-Guild Shop. This shop represents a new marketing for manufacturers and craftsmen, another means of promoting their products, a place to visit and an incomparable showcase to the wide professional offer of our members and tourists visiting Manises. Also I would highlight the incorporation of manufacturers of third firing from Castellón or the performing of dozens of courses of recycling from ceramists and for new professionals training.

José Vicente Montesa and the AVEC

Since its inception, the family business of production of artistic pottery was associated from AVEC and also from the revival that occurred in the 80s, from the Guild. In 1986 we began producing mud on my current company, Pastas y Barbotinas Cerámicas SA, and from the first moment we partnered with AVEC, taking part in the most important goal, which was the negotiation and signing of the collective agreement workers in the sector. In 1991 we met a group of young -then- enterpreneurs, who took over AVEC, where Vicente Lerma was the president and I the vice president. In 1998 Lerma acceded to the presidency of the national employers in the sector and I became president of AVEC. It was my first cycle as president of this association, which reaches up to 2005, when I had to leave the presidency in order to focus on my three young children, staying as a member on the board. After the resignation of Jesús Gimeno in 2014 I am again president.

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