samedi 25 mai 2013

Of small shops and supermarkets..

One of the delights of living in France is that town centres still have independent shops - the boulangerie, the boucherie, the charcuterie and so on...  In part this is probably because of France's fine food culture.  But the survival of so many independent retailers is also the result of laws which have curtailed the power of supermarkets to undercut small retailers and specialist shops.  Planning laws introduced in the 1990's also placed restrictions on where and how supermarkets could develop.

But - every town has its out of town supermarkets and its share of shut up shops..

At Aubeterre in the Charente

And at Villebois Lavallete in the Charente..

And this is Riberac in the Dordogne..

But some great independent shops survive.  Here's one in Perigeuex..

lundi 6 mai 2013

Xavier Maffre... Ceramiste - Potier

In the right hands, clay is an incredible material...   Xavier Maffre is a talented ceramist - potter working from his studio in Aubterre sur Dronne. 

The studio, with its traditional potter's wheel and wood fired kiln, is built inside an old stable.

Maffre's pots are simple and utilitatian - strong and simple shapes with luminous, lustrous glazes. Here are some of the pieces that we've bought..

A small, cobalt blue dish..

Three pieces in a rich, wine red glaze

This biscuit coloured bowl with its delicate green edging is a favourite..

And here's an urn in the darkest, matt finish..

A trip to Aubterre - un des plus beau villages de France - is always a great pleasure.  A visit to l'atelier de Xavier Maffre is a real treat!