Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My French Pottery


My French Pottery
David, 16 Sept

A while back, a reader suggested that I do a post about my pottery collection. When I told Romain about it he looked surprised and said that it wasn’t a collection but just stacks of pottery. However it’s considered in the world of les collectionneurs that if you have three or more of any object, that’s a collection. And I certainly have more than three items in my apartment!
I never intended to start collecting plates, platters and bowls in France. (Which I am lumping into the general term of poterie, although a lot of it could be classified as dinnerware.) I would go to flea markets and see old bowls, some showing their age, some salvaged from bistros that perhaps met their demise, and pick them up for whatever I could negotiate them for. Many perhaps are long-forgotten relics found in attics, or people getting rid of their old things, who prefer things new.
Provencal PotteryI like the forms of older French pottery and dinnerware; the graceful, elongated oval serving platters with deep wells to hold food and any accompanying sauce. I can’t seem to have enough big, heavy bowls and sturdy oval gratin dishes, ones that might have once held a grandmother’s pride and joy, a gratin dauphinois. And I search out platters that might have held the family meal, or dinner plates hefted by garçons in neighborhood restaurants.
Almost everything that I have, I’ve picked up at random flea markets or antique shops across France. While there are some nice places to shop in Paris for new and old, once you hit the countryside, there are a lot more things to choose from and the prices are much, much more attractive. So I can’t tell you where to get most of these things, but you can check out my post Paris Flea Markets and Thrift Stores and Antiquing Outside of Paris for more information and links on how to find out where and when they are. (There are some places listed in the post, Tour de France, about halfway down the page, of places in the countryside that we’ve stumbled on where I found some treasures, too.)
French potteryWhile it’s nice to find things in good condition, sometimes objects that show their age appeal to me. I don’t buy things with hairline cracks since you can’t really use them for cooking or serving. And everything I have, I use. The dish just below we used when shooting My Paris Kitchen for the leeks vinaigrette, the classic that I tried to riff off of, but my Parisian partner would hear nothing of the sort. Of course, I won that round – or octagon – because it was my Paris kitchen : ) Maybe next up is Our Paris Kitchen? But until then…
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