The potter’s workshop: the transformation of clay

Until mechanisation and electricity, the techniques and tools of the Perigordine potter had hardly evolved since the Middle Ages.

The raw materials were essentially those found locally: very kaolinic clays, aeolian sand, manganese, water and wood. Lead sulphate and copper oxide had to be purchased.

The potter extracted the clay, prepared the clay paste by kneading it, turned it on the potter’s wheel, filled the pots with their handles and finishes, left them to dry, prepared the glaze of lead, clay, sand and water and then varnished the pots before firing them in a potter’s kiln at 1000° C.

Illustrations :

– Photograph of Jean Chevalier Lavaure (1866-1942) in his studio in Faye in Beauronne in the 1920s. (Collection Mari-José Villsuzanne)

– Photograph of a clay quarry in Beauronne in 2007 (photo Alain Devise © Musée André Voulgre)

– Plaque by Jean Chevalier Lavaure, pottery manufacturer in Beauronne (1866-1942). (© Musée André Voulgre)

– Photograph of the workshop of the potter Jean Chevalier Lavaure de Faye in Beauronne [or placed on the wall to the left of the potter’s wheel…] (© Musée André Voulgre)

– For sketches: turning steels, loading coils and seam for clay