What has been your career path?
I told my parents that I wanted to stop my studies and leave for an apprenticeship to learn ceramics.I first did a first apprenticeship as an industrial shaper (everything made by machines that you find in supermarkets now (dishes) as well as toilets, sinks, shower trays etc..This manufacturing process didn’t really captivate me, especially when I went to the training center (Longchamp, near Dijon) and saw people learning to turn pots and that’s when it all clicked. I then finished this first apprenticeship which took place in Dordogne but which nevertheless brought me a lot of knowledge about ceramic technology.
I then looked for another apprenticeship master to learn to turn. This was done in the Drôme (Cliousclat at the Sourdives brothers, a utilitarian pottery and garden pottery factory in wood-fired glazed clay) in a small village of potters. The training center was in Saint Amand en Puisaye which was a big village of stoneware potters. It was a very hard apprenticeship but a very good school of life. My apprenticeship master first told me for 15 days. “Sit down and watch.”
For the first 6 months all the pieces I produced were cut in half to see the distribution of the clay and then thrown away in the recycling. But before I could turn I had to prepare his clay for his day and clean his work station every night. I was 20 years old, I was far from home, it was very hard. I had to really hang in there. After 6 months, he started to keep one piece, after 15 days, 3 pieces, then 10, then 20, until a whole board. And it was gone for 2 years. I then stayed 3 more years in this workshop, 3 years where I was only turning pots all day long. There I learned regularity and rigor… and the wood firing with a cooker who must have been about 45 years old at the time and who had started at 14.
I then felt like going to see something else, I went to Suzy Atkins in the Cantal, a world-renowned potter because she was one of the pioneers to put gold on her pieces (if you have the curiosity to go and see what she does you will see). Suzy who makes salt stoneware took me under her wing, a very fusional relationship was immediately established between her and me. She became my pottery mom. She also taught me rigor and decoration. It was extraordinary. Thanks to her I was able to go and teach throwing in Ireland for 6 months. And then after I left to work in some other workshops punctually.
How did you get to Creuse?
And one day, I had come to spend a few days in Creuse at my brother’s who lives in Bussière Dunoise, unconditional radio France Bleu Creuse we heard a program with Mr. Pierre Veysseix who was looking for animators at the tile factory in Pouligny.
I called, I fell on Brigitte who gave me his coordinates. I called Pierre and you know the rest … here I am to welcome you!”
Can you tell us what defines your philosophy of life?
“My philosophy is that this craft knowledge, it must be shown, explained and especially transmitted.
So sharing and transmission.”