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 December 2010


That's it. It's launched. The pottery studio in St Civran will open again on 1st May 2011.

If you are looking for some craft activity, strolls in sunken paths in an unknown French province and mad laughs in a dormitory... just try a holiday with BerryHobby in the village of St Civran (pronounced 'sainseevran') in the French province of Berry.

This time it's serious!

Starting 1st May until the end of October 2011, here's the offer for a cool French holiday:

- 3 hrs in the pottery workshop for beginners, morning or afternoon...
- 3 hrs of strolling along country lanes or by bike on the small roads, when we don't do pottery...
- lunch taken on the long oak table in the house attached to the workshop...
- the evening meal maybe too, except if you prefer to try a local restaurant...
- long summer evenings in the local cultural style like attending a theatre play in the backyard of a castle, or else a barbecue in the garden...

All this, in restricted company as BerryHobby only takes 3 (three) people at a time.

Now the cost.

- For the 6 hrs per day either doing pottery or strolling around: 35€ per day.
- Plus 5€ to share a meal.
- Plus the cost for accommodation of 35€ per night.
- Plus 5€ to share a breakfast.

As I was saying, this is a cool offer for a cool French holiday.

You can enrol right now for 1st May or later. At this stage you only need to send an e-mail giving your details and the dates you wish to attend to:


First arrived, first served. You only need to put your name down to have a place reserved. You pay when you get to the workshop. If you change plans, never mind, your place will be given to the next one on the waiting list.

The address: La poterie, 2 rue du Lavoir, 36170 St Civran, France.

49. Host and Helper in 2006

The HelpExchange website is a place where someone owning a farm or a house to renovate, called the 'Host', will offer free accommodation and food to someone, called the 'Helper', willing to help with some hours of work per day and per week. The arrangement between the two parties is loose. It is on a kind of volunteering basis on both sides. It stems from the organisation widely used in New Zealand and Australia called 'vwoof', i.e.Volunteer Work On Organic Farms. It is common and popular in those countries for young and less young people to hit the road and travel from one farm to another within this organisation. The system is so popular that it has extended to other types of activities. You now find Hosts having Helpers to do all sorts of small jobs on their properties.

In 2006 as I was already planning to revive my pottery workshop, I received Jessica from the USA as a Helper. I drove to Paris to pick her up at the airport and took her with her large bicycle back to my remote lonesome rural village in the centre of France. She was jet-lagged, culture shocked and heart broken as she had just split from her boyfriend and for my part I had heavy family problems. But anyway she soon adapted to my way of life and we had some good time together. She was very helpful, friendly and well behaved. The only regret I have is that we never became friends. The age difference perhaps. We exchanged travel stories and I raved so much about New Zealand that she went on her travels ending up in New Zealand.

Here are some photos of her stay with me.

Stacking logs in St Civran

At the potter's wheel

Walking to Chazelet

Mowing in Chazelet

Driving back from La Borne
Baby sitting my grand-daughter

11 December 2010


Frankie breaking up dry clay in her workshop
The year 2010 is nearly over and I am thinking again of getting my pottery workshop off the ground.

With the aim to provide for a stressless enjoyable environment with pottery making as a theme, but not as a structured course, I'm thinking of opening up from May to October 2011 to holiday makers like I did in 2002 and 2003. The pottery activity will be limited to beginners only and I'll deal with them.

However as I do need help, I have registered with HelpExchange as a Host to recruit Helpers.

Since I am able to live in another village, the house attached to the pottery studio in St Civran can be made available to Helpers. The way I see it, there will be a 'caretaker' in the house staying for the season from May to October. He will look after the place and welcome anyone turning up, either hobby potters or tourists passing by or other Helpers arriving for a short stay. As I see it, the house would have a nice atmosphere with people happy to share travel stories, a drink or a meal, and always neat.

In 2002 I tried to do all the jobs on my own, the welcoming in the house, the teaching in the pottery studio, the advising where to stay and so on. It was exhausting and as I'm a bit older now, I just would not cope on my own. A 'caretaker' will make it so much easier for me.

The publicity to attract people to the workshop is done by internet. As this takes quite some time, I do need someone to help me with that too. A Helper with advanced knowledge and experience on handling e-publicity is needed.

That way my job will be limited to come to the workshop and take charge of 3 beginner hobby potters. This I can do.

What I dread, of course, is all the administrative stuff I will have to deal with.