Rue des Martineurs (Street of the Copper Beaters)

I mentioned in my last post that our village Durfort (which translates as “hard and strong”) has been making copperware since the 14C.  The village at one time had 14 mills along our river (le Sor) and then as the textile trade moved, the village became known for its copper ware. Even today, people come here from all over to buy copper in the Viergnes copper atelier as well as in several other shops selling less expensive copper pieces made in North Africa but using the classic old French designs.

There is also a small but wonderful Copper Museum. Inside the museum are beautiful antique copper pots- many of the designs of the pots were made specifically for the needs of certain recipes.  The shapes are so unusual and call out to be drawn or photographed!  An informative DVD shows the old copper making process and how it is done today.

My workshops are held at La Cascade – a beautiful home from the 17C renovated by Gwen Gibson- which is halfway up Rue des Martineurs. Our neighbor, Mr. Ferrari, was the last of the artists making copper the old way.  He was the last man to close and lock up the last traditional copper making studio in the village a few years ago. I see him almost every day on my morning walk- he is either riding his bike to his garden, fishing in the river which runs right behind the houses on our street or collecting snails for his wife to make a soup!