Dracénie potters win the French potters’ championship

“HeyIt didn’t work much, it’s been a month we’ve seen our heads in the leashes! “ Time to rest for Mathias Garnier. He sits, stretches his legs, lights a cigarette and asks if he can.”To smoke?”

A welcome relaxing moment for a Salerno artist who saw customers flocking to the store he runs with his wife Sophie.

Obviously, the news spread in the village. “Here you are, the two French heroes are in Var!” Shouts with a smile the person who just won 1Verse Men’s Category Award in the French Potters Championship.

Organized by Stéphane Montalto, France’s best potter, the competition welcomed fifteen candidates, including nine men and six women from across the Baca region, in early May in the forecourt of the Cocteau Museum in Menton.

The last rounds, which relied on technique and knowledge rather than creativity, consisted of kneading 6 kg of clay for thirty minutes to stir up the largest piece, then the longest.

“I was fascinated by seeing the earth take shape.”

Matthias Garnier will soon travel to the World Championships in Faenza, Italy. Waiting to get ready to participate after two years. Photo C.Cz.

Not enough to impress anyone who has accumulated more than thirty years of work:

“I didn’t expect to win at all, Says the potter, proud to show his beautiful testimony, I doubted myself, it allowed me to gain confidence, it also brings me legitimacy “He sets. “I’ve already tried competing for the best worker in France, but to no avail because I wasn’t ready, there’s a lot of pressure to manage, and I’ll try again maybe in three or four years.”

So we do not regret the native of the small village of La Destrousse near Aubagne.

It was in this city, in the heart of Provence, that it all began, in the santon-making workshop of the father of his best friend: “This is where I had my first contact with clay” Remembers Mathias Garnier. “Seeing the potter’s role, seeing the earth take shape and come alive, you fascinated me!”

At the age of 17, he attended the Pottery School in Obani and then began a qualification contract in a company in Gresko.

After his military service, he accepted the position of a potter near Avignon:

You paid us the piece. He says who wants to live by his passion more than anything else.

During a walk he discovered the village of Salerence in 1998.

Matthias and Sophie’s shop is full of colorful pieces like this giant mushroom. Photo by Carola Chernicki.

He will put his luggage there.

“I started working in the Alain Vagh workshops, met my wife there, and we opened our first shop in the village in 2004. Today, we have a second shop in Aups, moreover, it’s Sophie who takes care of it!”

A story of a family passion that a man does not hesitate to convey as soon as the opportunity arises.

‘Professional has become more feminine’

Among the pieces made by Matthias Garnier is a giant enameled and colorful cup that can be used as a makeshift bowl. Photo by Carola Chernicki.

“I don’t see this profession disappearing, on the contrary it has become more feminine, so there is more sensitivity, we are completely equal in that!” Matthias, who will see himself organizing the next pottery tournament, continues at the Museo Terra Rossa in Salerence.

“We have everything to know here. In the city of porcelain, the village must be recognized for its pottery and the quality of the craftsmen.”

We conclude with conviction: “I wish we had the right to the influence we deserve. More and more potters are settling in Salerence, there’s room for everyone!”


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Matthias and Sophie, rue Edouard-Basset in Salerence.
Facebook page: Matthias and Sophie

“First prize won’t change my life”

In her workshop in Vidoban, Léa Tardetto polished her latest pieces alongside her little one. Photo by Camille Doudette.

A true haven of peace, Léa Tardito’s boutique wood workshop located in the Vidauban countryside is intriguing.

Barely through the door, the eye wanders over the stalls dotted with many pieces with sober and refined lines. “I make utilitarian pottery, and love to create beautiful everyday objects, simple things to use with soft colors and colors” Explains Lea Tardeto, who just won first prize in the women’s category at the 1st French Pottery Championships.

“It’s my first competition, it was fun, there was a good atmosphere” Defines a self-employed porcelain worker who is 29 years old and already has knowledge worthy of the greatest.

“In the markets, there is a real interaction with people”

Several steps are necessary before a piece of clay reaches the final result. Photo by Camille Doudette.
Lea Tardeto at work in her enchanting studio in Vidaupan. Photo by Camille Doudette.

Hair pulled into a bun, a fuchsia mini jacket and dry-ground pants, you want to justify her look:

“I am currently also working in the vineyard. Unfortunately, with my job, it is not enough, I should probably engage more in sales” Recognizes the mother of little William who is 7 and a half years old.

At first glance, the young woman appears shy, reserved, words count.

However, she agrees to return to her career and the passion that has driven her since her childhood.

“I was born in Nice. As a child, I took part in pottery workshops as a hobby, loved it, and despite the advice of my college teachers who saw me continue my general education, I chose to go shooting for ceramics CAP at Léonard de Vinci High School in Antibes”.

At 17, she created her first plots in her father’s garage, a gardener by training.

“He always supported me, I worked with him for six years and started production in parallel” Says the person who has been living in Vidoban for ten years.

She now displays her creations in the region’s pottery markets.

“It’s really enriching, there’s a real interaction with people.”

Leah keeps her feet on the ground

The ceramic artist displays her work in the markets and in her studio on the Plan de la Tour Route in Vidauban. Photo by Camille Doudette.

But before selling, it takes no less than two weeks for the piece to reach the final result: stir, stir, dry, charge, first burn, remove, polish, remove ring (1), etc. Lots of steps closely follow each other.

Among the things it is proud of is a huge oak made of black and white chamotte stone (2).

“There is one at Bruno’s in Lorgues” Enthusiasts who also produced a series of paintings for Château de Berne continue.

But this is not enough to catch the big head. Leah puts her feet on the ground and intends to hold it. And this is despite the bonus that it pushes a little into the light:

“This first prize makes me smile but it won’t change my life!” She says humbly.

“Moreover, I have no desire to change my life, I am very happy with what I have today” Porcelain finishes with a smile, hugging her little boy.

1. Extract from a wheel peg of pottery.
2. The ceramic paste is ground into small granules.


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Facebook page: Léa Tardito artisan porcelain

Instagram account: lea_tardito
Website: tardi-to.jimdofree.com

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