Arts+Crafts is a new series about traditional and manual workmanship still used today. Inspired by the eponymous movement at end of the 19th century and Japanese the Mingei of the 20th century, material and simplicity are highlighted in usual objects and artists-craftman’s fulfillment is achieved through each step of their process and their environment.
Manon Clouzeau is a pottery craftswoman exclusively dedicated to creating turned enameled stoneware bowls. Nothing but bowls. Open or closed, big or small. Each one with its own enamel adornment, subtle variation of textures.
A common everyday domestic object of simplistic shape, the bowl is yet ideal, universal, essential and full of delicacy. This receptacle, synonymous with opening and welcoming, allows giving as well as receiving, by invoking sharing around a table.
Manon was willing to open the doors of her studio to me, Kaïros — La Galerie des Bols, located in the heart of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, in Charente, France. She let me witness her creative ritual, between care and precision, subtlety and patience, generating as many tints, textures and shapes as there are bowls.
This video is destined to immortalize and recount these transformation stages: from soft to hard, rough to smooth, white to colored, formless to shaped, dream to reality.
It all begins with turning, a long and solitary phase, nearly contemplative and repeated. Sitting crossed-legged, facing the potter’s wheel, breathing deeply and slowly, Manon gives form to the clay centered between her hands with a succession of pressures, opening movements and refinement on the material.
Enameling, for its part, brings its characteristic palette to the bowl. It’s the result of a specific alchemy between raw materials, the color of the earth, the thickness of the coat and all the uncertainty of the firing.
In the end, each bowl is a unique piece, as demonstrated by the series of signs — neither numbers nor letters, but a language specific to Manon — discreetly engraved along the foot short side. A nomenclature which precisely traces the story of each piece (date, enamel bath, baking/firing…).