The Life of the Studio

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The studio welcomes back ceramicists who base their work on the clay coil technique of Francine Del Pierre. Olivia d’Albis, who already has a good experience of modeling, is taking this unique opportunity to discover ceramics. She works with the kind complicity of Marie Saint Bris-Bouyer, a ceramicist, former pupil of Fance and great expert on Japan. The first kilns have been reactivated under the discreet and confident supervision of Jean-Claude Fein, who has been the head of the production at the Manufacture de Sèvres for many years. This activity at the studio aims at developing over time and at welcoming other ceramicists, as the studio is fully equipped.

Extracts from the editorial of Jean d’Albis.

Remarks on the ceramic courses given by Fance Franck

After having had several months to reflect on the working method that Fance Franck transmitted to us in order to be taught how to mount a stoneware bowl following the principles developed by the ceramicist Francine Del Pierre, Tia Kummerfeld, Carole de Durfort and I have come to the same conclusion to describe what the course taught us. The work on clay, as Fance Franck told us, week after week with the same ardor, the same gestures, the same patience, the same words, always precise and correct, has opened us up to an inner world closer to our respective identities. We have applied this method naturally to other aspects of our daily life. Consequently, the sensation that the art we practice is interwoven with our whole life, and structures us from the inside, develops. When Fance was telling us that Francine Del Pierre considered a work nearly finished when its base and its feet were well done, we believed it willingly. This work of construction softly refined our eye and gesture, day after day. Considering our impatient gestures or our moments of discouragement, we are nevertheless aware today that we have become deeply attached to this rigorous, repetitive and slow method because it leads us towards a freedom of gesture and heart which fulfils us.
This gives us the desire to practice this art more and more. What really matters is the search for the correct gesture, in a balance between being reserved and displaying one’s own strength to develop one’s own energy. This tension given to clay always offers its response, giving life and energy to each object. Through such work, we become familiar with our breathing and our own rhythm. This is an art of movement, comparable to dance, a work which leads us to know ourselves better and to make a good use of our strength. This technique requires us to execute precise and efficient gestures. Fance liked to use the word “efficient”, which, according to her, led us towards a true and personal work. This regular work of mounting clay coils, that Francine Del Pierre had ritualized, gives to each one its gesture, always richer like a path to follow. The repetitive gesture becomes at last a natural movement like writing. To create an object, one chooses beforehand a precise drawing, a line, a curve which one will follow strictly. This is a decision taken with a real determination, implying rigor and a very intense strictness of the eye. Yet, at the same time, to follow that line makes us freer and let us see that the art of ceramics can also be practiced like a path towards spirituality. This method, based on extreme simplicity of gesture and eye, takes each one towards different horizons which are one’s own, on the way towards a greater truth.
It is a work in depth where the imagination has its entire place. We like to discover more and more how ceramics is an art created to celebrate life. A daily art. An art of receptacles and of conviviality. Ceramics can also be considered as a fully anthropomorphic art, even though stylized, and it is amusing to pick up the terms which refer to it like a precious wink. We talk, after all, of feet, paunch, neck, lips… and this in many languages. A synthetic and universal art!

Marie Saint Bris-Bouyer

Spring 2006

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