Category Archives: Polymer Clay

A Week Flies By

It was a week ago that I waited at the airport for my group to arrive. The fates allowed everyone to get to France  safely and even on time. We drove thru the rolling hills of the Lauragais to our home for the week, La Cascade.

On arrival day after settling in, we took a short walk thru our charming, human- scale village ending with a snack of cafe au lait, quiche and frites at le Cyrano- the village cafe. From this relaxed beginning the week tumbled forward.

Saturday was the Revel market ending with a delicious lunch made of market goodies- fresh roasted chicken, olives, cheese, fruit, bread, lovely smothered onions, pickled garlic(sweet and crunchy), blueberries with creme fraiche. YUM!

Sunday was one of my favorite flea markets in Lautrec- the village where the Toulouse Lautrec family had a large manor house. We all found fabulous treasures there. For me- a lovely toile tablecloth, beautiful old tins for coffee and sugar, a sweet evening shawl with bells and bangles sewn on.

Ann and Peter, two artists here in the village, joined us for a dinner out at Le Tournesol (The Sunflower) and the food was magnifique- duck confit, cassoulet, salad with warm goat chees or foie grass, warm and melty chocolate cake or profiterolles for dessert.

And I have not yet told you of the wonderful art created each day in the studio. Morning studio sessions with me everyday and Open Studio at night. We created a bounty of personal Art Journals and a lovely selection of jewelry.

A full week of joy- my love to Ana, Geri, Diana, Tim, Susi, Margaret, Benice, Elna and Rosemary.  What pure delight the week has been. Merci beaucoup.

I’ll write soon about the weekly village flea markets.


I’ve got the studio set up and am excitedly waiting for the first workshop- they arrive tomorrow!

We’ll meet at the Toulouse airport and then piggyback thru the beautiful Lauragais countryside of rolling hills and fields. The poppies are still blooming and if it is a clear day we will be able to see the Pyrenees to the south of us. I’ll be writing about what we see and do during this week so do please check in.

And I’m also thrilled to find out I will be teaching at Artfest 2012. I’ve been away from teaching at this superb event for a few years so it is an honor to be back and part of the Artfest family. The workshop and info will be posted August 1st and usually completely fills in a matter of days, so please do make your way here on August 1st and join us for a great adventure in Port Townshend!

This is my favorite fountain in Revel near the market.

Fabulous Market

Next week my first workshop participants will arrive here in France.  I’m really looking forward to sharing the charms of this area of France.  One of the first things we will do is go to the Saturday Market in Revel (5 minutes from us).

Revel’s lovely central covered square was built in the 1300’s and there has been a Saturday market going on ever since.

This market has been named one of the 100 Most Beautiful Markets in France and certainly lives up to the honor. Under and around the central covered square  are vendors from the region selling gorgeous mounds of fresh produce, olives, breads, spices, cheeses, pastries,  meats,  rotisserie chickens and roasted potatoes, huge plates of bouillabaisse and paella, flowers,  plants and more and more – a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

The market continues down the streets that “spoke” off the central square and continue out onto the ring road that circles Revel. Here are the vendors with everything else you could want.  Clothes, baskets, fabric, linens, jewelry, purses, shoes- even a hardware store vendor and a man selling new sewing machines.

The crowd is filled with energy, greeting friends old and new and gathering at the cafes that line the central square for a cafe au lait and a pastry.

Another fabric collage from a drawing done at the cafe.

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!

Early Morning Thief

The villagers tell me this is the most beautiful spring here in Durfort France in the last 21 years.  I leave the house each morning at 7 AM to do my morning walk. I walk by the small cobble-stoned streams that make this village unique. The streams run right down the center of the three village streets.

Durfort has been making copperware since the 14C. The lovely houses that now line the streets of the village were once copper studios and the streams were made for parts of that process- i.e quenching the copper to cool it off. There is a fascinating DVD in the Copper Museum here in the village that shows the whole process.

I walk out the back of the village and follow the road up the Montagne Noire (Black Mountain), against which Durfort is nestled. The river Sor and the early morning birds provide a beautiful musical accompaniment to my walk.

There are several houses on the way with gorgeous meadows and old ruins on their property. As I approach house number four there it is. My, well not really mine, cherry tree– in full drippy juicy readiness. The cherries are bursting off the branches. I have been picking cherries from this tree, under cover of darkness, for the last two years. I feel a little guilty of the thievery, as there are cars parked at the house, on the other hand, I have never seen anyone here and noone else, besides the birds, seems to be interested in the fruit. So they are mine, all mine! I found a recipe today in a medieval cookbook that I’ll try my hand at tomorrow. Sounds a bit like a cherry crumble from what I can translate.

My art for the last week has consisted of my daily drawing in pen (so I cannot obsess about an eraser and being perfect).  These will serve as inspiration for future fabric collages with polymer clay embellishments. And I’m shooting a photo a day with the macro lens, exploring closeups not necessarily for the actual image but for composition, texture studies.

Here’s a fabric collage from my Cafe series.