A pottery studio in St Civran, France

Welcome to this blog about the quiet rural life in the Berry Province of France where I have tried to open a pottery studio to hobby potters.
Your comments will be appreciated.

13 January 2007


I started this blog to tell the story of St Civran Pottery from its beginning in 2002 till now in 2006-7. As it is taking much longer than I expected, I am jumping to the present, i.e. January 2007, to make an announcement.

I have decided to let my pottery studio with furnished house attached for this coming summer, as of 1st July.

An ad for it can be seen on the FrenchEntree website.

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°° Pass the word! °°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

09 January 2007

25. A training project

Through the employment agency, in October 2002, a contract was signed between myself and my 'trainee' whereby I was to train him for 580 hours at no cost for me while he was getting paid by the agency. I was formerly promising to employ him at the end of his training.

I had to produce a formal document stating how I was going to train him during these 580 hours. Here's my translation from the French of my 'Proposition for a training project giving access to an enterprise':

This is a training program targeted to the employment of a young person wishing to learn the potters craft.

The process of making a ceramic is rather simple but its mastering requires a good experience which you can only acquire progressively.

Like for any manual profession you must first and foremost have a taste or a talent for manual work. As for pottery, the taste starts with a liking for 'shape'. The potter's job is to reproduce a given shape into clay, and then make it solid and durable.


A. The idea of 'shape'(lasting 26 hrs):

Introduction to various shapes is done continuously throughout the training,

1) By reading books on the subject:
- "La poterie", J. Chavarria, Gründ edition 1994
- "Le modelage", D. Nour-Margeault
- "La poterie à la main", A. Riedinger
- any other book on the subject available at a public library

2) By visiting museums:
- the Argentomagus gallo-roman museum in Argenton-sur-Creuse
- Adrien Dubouche in Limoges
- the diocese museum in Limoges
- the Campana gallery at the Louvre museum in Paris
- the museum at the potters village in La Borne

3) By being aware of objects everywhere at all times:

Pottery being a traditional art, it is possible to be introduced to shapes by visiting antique dealers or even garage sales.

B. Reproduction into clay (lasting 300 hrs):

There are three techniques to shape an object from a ball of clay: throwing, handbuilding and casting. The training offered as 'A course of access to the St Civran Pottery studio' will mainly consist of throwing on the potter's wheel:

- kneading the clay
- how to center a ball of clay
- throwing a bowl, a plate, a cylinder
- throwing pots of various shapes
- the finish off

C. Firing in an electric kiln (lasting 54 hrs):

To make it solid and durable a given shape fashioned into clay must then be fired to a very high temperature in a special kiln.

The studio is equiped with an electric kiln, Ceradel C128, of a 128 liter volume and able to reach 1300 degrees Celsius. The trainee will learn to prepare and fire a kiln of earthenware pots,

- at first firing (bisque)
- and at second firing (glazing).

D. Glazes and enamels (lasting 100 hrs):

Glazes used at the St Civran Pottery studio are not made on the premises but are bought at a wholesaler's in Limoges. Learning to use these products to glaze the pots is a long process and requires a lot more knowledge than the throwing technique. Within the studio the following methods will be seen:

- glazing by dipping
- glazing by spraying
- glazing by painting

E. Computer skills (lasting 60 hrs):

The 'trainee' will have to be computer literate. Daily use of the computer will be recommended on the premises, using a HP Pavilion computer running a Microsoft XP system with free access to internet:

- learning how to use the keyboard with ten fingers
- read and answer e-mails from the pottery studio's customers
- regular visits to website related to the ceramic industry to keep in touch with new development.


The 'trainee' will attend a course in Limoges (lasting 40 hrs) to be acquainted with the enamel on copper traditional techniques.