Wednesday, 4 November 2009

How It All Began

The first of the summer was spent walking and exploring, and taking photos and sketching and writing in our journals... and EATING. We walked to Montmartre and seems a long way to me now, and sketched in the Jardin des Plantes and along the quais, and we spent hours in the Louvre, and being art students we were enchanted with everything.

We went to the Boulangerie for our bread early in the morning and ran home with it still hot in our hands. We got to know the stores for each different item, beef, pork, HORSE MEAT! (horrors..poor horse!),fresh vegetables, and so on. We found a fine little restaurant just across the Boulevard Saint Marcel called l'Entr'acte, and would order whatever we had not ordered before, and ate it and loved it and would go back home and look it up in our dictionaire. "Umm, tripe sausage, Hmm, brains, Ahhh, sweetbreads (what were they?). Hmm., kidneys." NO Matter, they had been GOOD, and we would order them again. We became friendly with the waitress, Maria, and she would suggest things to try, and told us our chef and owner was a retired French Line chef. Lucky us!

We visited my friends, Nicole and Pierre Chapo, who were artists and designers, and who later had a prestigious furniture business called Meubles Chapo. In these early days as "starving artists", they had a tiny one room flat with Pierre's drafting table and a bed and their baby Nicolas, who had been born in Phoenix where I had met them. We laughed and talked and shared Turkish coffee (I never could get used to sweet coffee!) and it was Nicole who took us on a circuitous route through the Latin Quarter where they lived above that student restaurant, to find this tiny shop with items from Normandy and Brittany as Nicole and Pierre were from Normandy and thought that we should see this.

Well, WHAT was this colorful pottery?
So many patterns, and so many designs!
Some a bit gaudy,
I thought..but so different.

They also had beautiful costumed dolls..I had always loved pretty costumes, and had collected Storybook dolls as a young of course had to have a couple of those too.

My budget was very tight and there was a whole summer ahead, but I bought a lug bowl which for years, I used for my café au lait, and a fabulous pitcher by Kereluc which was the stylized head of a lady in a tall lace coiffe, and a doll from Pont Aven and one from Brignogan, wherever those places where.

And so began my collection of Quimper. There is much more to my summer adventure for some other time, and the tale of how my collection finally got beyond my few pieces will come later,
and needless to say, it HAS grown over the years, but my love for both France and French faïence, especially that of Quimper, has never wavered.

Vive la France!

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