Apart from the Sevres factory and museum just outside of town, Paris appears fairly ceramic free. However, in darkest St Germain between the patisseries selling stunning confections of eggs, sugar and fruits and the boutiques with high-end, heavy label, designer shoes and antique shops purveying deco furniture or three hundred year old paintings was a small slot of a place selling what looked like hand-made studio ceramics! Surprised, in I went and stumbled through a conversation with the owner. He thinks there are only two small places in town where the hand-made is produced. I did not catch the other but the source of the work he carried was over near Canal St Martin, east of the Marais and the Bastille. Unfortunately it was my last day; no time to follow up and no camera in my bag. But the work was charming and seemed very French. By that I guess I mean no one is even close to making tableware such as this in our part of the world.
Terracotta was slab-rolled, extremely thinly, I think onto baroque mouldings and formed into tableware, mainly by press-moulding. It was not stamped after rolling because there were no indentations behind the proud mouldings. No sprigging evident either. All made in one roll with no further work applied. The moulds must be specific for each element of ware because the baroque patterns fitted precisely, edges on dishes and plates were raised beads and there was clearly a place left for applying the handle on cups. It had all been very well thought through before moulds were made, or re-made.
All was covered in a white slip and clear glazed. Fairly high fired for terracotta. Almost every possible dish was catered for – covered vegetable and fish serving dishes, several sizes of gently squared bowls stacked up, cups and saucers for tea, espresso and café au lait, water jug and glasses. It was elegant, feminine, very expensive and very earnest. Not the teeniest touch of irony anywhere. I’d have brought a bucketful home if I could have.