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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience

Frankie said...

No problem! That's what internet is for.