Friday France Photos: Mr. Pott the Potter and his Pottery
Friday April 27th 2007, 7:12 am
Filed under: art/culture/design,Bourgogne/Burgundy,daily life,people,photos

gerald pott sign

We always joke about this sign whenever we pass it, and I’ve been meaning to take a photo of it but haven’t until recently. Just a few days ago, we were on our way back from Dijon and decided to finally stop to take a picture. Since we stopped, we thought, “why not check out Mr. Gérald Pott, the potter and his pottery store?”

house of gerald pott potter france

We found his cute country house and was welcomed by Mrs. Pott as we walked up their driveway.

ceramic bull in garden

Looking around the beautifully disorganized garden you’ll find his work scattered here and there – like this ceramic bull.

ceramics display gerald pott france

There are 2 exhibition rooms to look at Mr. Pott’s pots and artwork. We couldn’t help but notice that he distinctly draws inspiration from Asia, and later when we talked with him he mentioned that he has a strange affinity to Japan, for no apparent reason whatsoever. He also uses techniques borrowed from Korea, where pottery is wrapped in materials like mesh to give the final result a textured finish.

water fountain ceramic pott france

We thought this water fountain would be a nice piece of art in someone’s office, as well as create a relaxed work environment.

gerald pott french potter

Finally, Mr. Pott himself emerged from a hole in the ground to meet us. (Really! He was trying to find a leak in his plumbing.) Though originally Swiss, he’s been in France for quite some time in this little corner of Burgundy. We found him to be funny, silly, intelligent, kind and passionate about his art.

kiln france

He got so happy when he asked us if we wanted to see the wood-burning kiln he built, and we said yes. When he fires his pottery, it takes 5 hours to heat it to the correct temperature. The pottery has to bake for 10 hours and he has to maintain a constant temperature as it bakes .

wood for the kiln

This means he needs lots and lots of wood.

Earlier in the visit when he told us he was totally infatuated with Japan, he told us that he was also a monk. I thought he was joking (he’d been joking a lot) and I laughed. But then he said he really was a monk at the nearby Taizé Monestary. Doh!

I guess being a monk wasn’t everything he thought it would be. I think that, in fact, it was because of his name. Yes, words are powerful! And his name is POTT, afterall. He couldn’t fight it any longer. Pott(ery) did force its way to become his destiny…

Gérald Pott, Artisan Potter
Chassenay
21230 Arnay-le-duc FRANCE
(In Burgundy, about 20 miles southwest of Dijon)
Tel: 33) 3. 80.90.18.20
Hours: Workshop/Exhibit Room Open Daily
Closed December, January, February (except for for appointments)

ceramic sake cups

We bought these cute sake cups and plate. I think they will be great for afternoon coffees, too.



Save the World with a Yaourtière
Thursday April 26th 2007, 8:54 am
Filed under: daily life,environment,food and drinks,products,shopping

Ok, I exaggerated. I suppose the title should instead be, “Produce Less Trash with a yaourtière.

We eat a lot of yogurt and although we prefer this brand because it is the best yogurt we’ve had from the market and comes in recyclable containers, we still bought other yogurt that comes in plastic pots. After a while you come to the realization that you are producing a huge mass of plastic trash with your yogurt consumption. And we all know that plastic is bad. It ends up in landfills or gets incinerated, which creates horrible pollution. Anyway, we’ve been so silly and wondered why we didn’t use a yaourtière (yogurt maker). So we got one.
yogurt maker
Making yogurt with a yaourtière is so simple, though you can make it without one (with a little more effort). We recommend them highly. And it is remarkably superior to market yogurts. Our first batch was not that great and a little gooey, but we used a generic plain yogurt and it has too many chemicals in it. We changed our method and now have creamy, delectible yogurt that tastes very much like our favorite. It is not tart at all.

All you need to do is boil a liter of organic whole milk, let it cool, pour into a pitcher or something with a spout, mix in a cup of yogurt (we use a pot of La fermière yogurt mentioned above) then pour the mixture into the little glass pots. Cover them, turn on the machine and let them sit there undisturbed (they don’t like to be jiggled at all) for 12 hours. Then put them in the fridge. And voila! You can add real vanilla bean while boiling the milk for yummy vanilla yogurt or flavor your plain yogurt later with jams, sugar, fruit etc.

Eating yogurt every day is very healthy for your body, and although it has whole milk, one cup is only 139 calories.



Gifts from Tech Companies
Wednesday April 25th 2007, 7:44 am
Filed under: daily life,games/software/tech,garden

We try to order online as much as possible, which saves a lot of driving time and reduces our carbon (dioxide) footprint. We live far from everything. There’s a company in Lyon (ldlc.com) where we order computer equipment and supplies and we love them. They’re great because they are incredibly fast, which seems unusual for France. They usually mail your things the very same day as you order it! Most of the time, you get your order the next day. If you know France, you know this is absolutely amazing.

flower seeds

Anyway, with each order, they always include a gift of some kind. Sometimes it’s chocolate, other times, it’s been a USB memory key or other gadget. This time, it was a small piece of paper the size of a napkin. Ads were on one side and when you turn it over you could see there were seeds embedded into the paper. All you have to do is peel off the ads then put the sheet of seeds into a pot, cover lightly with soil, water and voila! Flowers in a few weeks.



Open Letter from Tony Hendra: Don’t Let Sarko Turn France into a Red State!
Tuesday April 24th 2007, 5:02 am
Filed under: people,politics

From Yahoo News:

Tres chers amis,I’m worried. Really worried. How can you have made Nicolas Sarkozy, the pint-size tough guy of the hard-right the leading contender to be next President of France? Not that I want to meddle in your internal politics, but since he’s gotten there in large part by claiming to be pro-American, I think I should explain exactly what that means…”

Read the entire letter

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The French Used to be So Unpredictable
Monday April 23rd 2007, 11:32 am
Filed under: daily life,politics

What happened, French people??! I was hoping the first round of the presidential results would be a GASP! OMGFG moment in French history but hélas. *Big Sigh*

I thought hey this is France we’re talking about (minds changing this way and that way and oftentimes rooting for the underdog), so it could be a really crazy 2nd round. Like it would’ve been so neat if the Workers’ Struggle’s Arlette Laguiller could make the 2nd round with like the hunting, fishing guy. I know he kills animals for fun – which I’m not into; I’m just saying.

Nope. ‘Twas as expected: Sego v. Sarko for round 2. DING! (on May 6). I might try to go count the ballots in our mayor’s office. Thanks to Pascal, Sandrine and Otir for the headsup on that info.