In June 2002, I forgot how it came about, I was interviewed by a journalist for the local radio. There's a network of local radios called Radio France Bleu with a specific program for each province or region of the country. The local one here is called France Bleu Berry. Here's my translation of the transcript.
I was born here. I was born in Chazelet actually but I left France when I was 19 to go and see elsewhere, to travel around the planet. That's it, I'm back, I'm 58 now. It means I spent 40 years going around the planet. I lived mainly in the Pacific region, in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Pottery... I've done it right through. At 20 I did a course somewhere. At 22 I did another I forgot where. It has always been my hobby, I've always done it in my spare time where ever I was.
At my age now I have been wanting to share this way of doing a hobby right through life. You never get to the end of it, it remains a hobby like going fishing. It's for fun.
YOU DID NOT ATTEND A PARTICULAR SCHOOL
No, not at all. I learnt whatever methods they had where I went and I compared them to other places where they did things another way. In the end I work now the way I see best for me.
For my students I do not want to be the guru saying something like: my way is the only way. I'd rather say: if you want to do it another way, that's alright with me.
In Australia where I lived for 12 years, as it is a country without much of a past, they are very much open to everything. They can't take refuge in the past by saying: that's the way we used to do it in the Middle Ages therefore we go on this way. They take different view from different sources. A fairly well known lady potter in Prissac told me just that. She recently travelled to Australia for a huge Open House event where potters from the whole world attended. They were sitting at their wheels, worked on it as people passed by and asked questions going from one artist to another. It is a fabulous 'melting pot' of potters ideas. You get out of it different from the way you came in.
IS CLAY WORKED THE SAME WAY?
Basics are the same. It's very physical, you know. You get your hands in it and you work with your whole body, not just the tip of your fingers. Like with play dough, but heavy. It's like play dough, or patisserie if you like, but with earth, clay. You have to beat it, work it. Some people like finding clay on the ground. A friend of mine not far from here actually goes around hunting for clay. She makes things with clay she's found on the ground. Not me. I start much further down the line. I drive to Limoges and I buy my clay from a wholesaler called Ceradel. I buy a tone worth of it in 10kg blocks. It keeps very well in my little clay cellar.
Everyone has a habit of doing things in a certain way and has a tendency to declare that it is the one and only way. I dislike such an attitude. True, people have different ways of making bread, say. It's a bit the same. Mrs Btown makes her bread this way and Mrs Smith that way. Everyone has a little secret. But overall we all work the same way.
YOU ARE SEFL-TAUGHT BUT YET YOU HAVE SOMEHOW GATHERED A COUPLE OF LITTLE IDEAS. YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS INTERNATIONAL NOW ANYWAY.
Sure but... yes sure but... I am not a professional. I haven't done a 5 year course in a school. I haven't got the practice. It remains a hobby. I just go fishing!