Monday, May 26, 2014

France is Full of Fabulous Potters

Of course, but I haven't known of any of them. We've been on a trip to southern France. I like to visit potters while traveling but had no luck actually finding potters there on the internet until Pierre Bounaud stepped in with leads. He's French and American and a fine potter. Thanks, Pierre!

We went to 2 pottery villages,  Moustiers Ste.-Marie, and St. Quentin la Poterie. Both are places with a long tradition of pottery making, in St. Quentin, since Neolithic times. There must be good local clay, though the people I heard from and about were not using that. There are other pottery villages, most famous in the area is Vallauris, which we avoided to avoid the Cannes film festival. Imagine them; a whole small town full of potters, studios, galleries, shops.  San Diego has many, I think an astonishing number of good potters, who know each other, but disappear into the rest of the city and population. In these villages, you walk down the street from one to the next. For potters, it's home!

Here's a map of Moustiers. The blue dots are all potters!

Moustiers is next to the spectacular gorge of the Verdon River, perhaps because of that very touristy. Decent pots for sale in the souvenier shops, and crowds wandering among them and restaurants. It's also in a dramatic site, on a cliffside, with a small river falling though it, staircase streets and houses built over each other.  There's an official category, "the most beautiful villages in France"; this is one.

St Quentin was much quieter, though I hope they have crowds in major tourist season. It seems just a beautiful small town of potters, working away privately.

 In each village we found one wonderful gallery, showing the very most marvelous  regional art work. Check them out:
La Mostra in Moustiers (

Terra Viva in St. Quentin (

And so I've found potters to rave about. I recommend you

Xavier Duroselle (
Brigitte Marionneau (
Isabelle LeClerc(
Yves Lambeau (

Oh, and Stephanie Gaillard, who I did not find on the web, but she made the wonderfully layered bowls at La Mostra. And so forth.

And then we stumbled over more. In the Pyrenees, we stopped in Villefranche de Conflent, a tiny village known for  its great walls and castle. It seems to live on tourist products in good taste, and in the 2 streets, we found the shops of 3 potters. The work is good, the prices shockingly low. Here's a cup by Phil Monroig.

And Le Panier, in the old part of Marseille (that goes back to the ancient Greeks), has become an art zone. Just walking we went by 4 potters' shops. Look at this beautiful stuff:
And I'd love to link you to Serge Moutarlier but don't find a website.

And then there is  national organization of potters, the Collectif  National des Ceramists:, listing potters and shows all over the country.

Wow. I hope you enjoy theses websites as a sit-down tour of our marvelous colleagues there.