Saturday I went to a workshop Gien. It was fascinating, I loved it. We heard the story of the French earthenware I love so much. Lamia Azernouk (responsible of museum and Gien workshops visits) explained the techniques used in each piece. She mentioned the materials, colors and influences patterns.
This brunch workshop was thus very pleasant. The atmosphere was friendly. We were in a small lounge, upstairs of Gien shop, rue de l’Arcade (near the Madeleine). There were croissants, tea and various juices that accompanied the presentation. Lamia spoke about the story of the brand but mostly technical. Very interesting, I completed my course of technical and vocabulary at the Sorbonne.
Gien was founded in 1821 by an Englishman, Thomas Hall, came to France to import the English earthenware. I will not tell you about all the technique used to get to a plate or vase because it is rather long and complex. But if the subject really interests you, I invite you to visit the site of Gien where you will find all the information that will be helpful.
I remember especially the history of the grounds, you know they only appeared in 1840? Gien was mainly specialized in a form of style. Custom designs like initials are meanwhile appeared in 1865. I really enjoyed discovering the notebooks with these initials and letters.
Gien is also a French company that has managed to modernize, including working with designers like Paco Rabane (find the list of all the designers here). However, they did not set aside their origin. For example, they revisited a Japanese-inspired flower pattern by magnifying the design on the piece. Believe me, it changes everything and it’s beautiful!
After the technical and historical demonstration (and enjoying the buffet), we could test us to paint on small plates. I’m not really talented and my attempt to reproduce a pretty M found in their notebooks failed. However, I loved to test! Know that on average 20 people are involved on a piece of Gien. For the anecdote, the entirely hand-painted patterns, you will find below the room not only the word “handmade” but also the initials of the person who made it and every artist is able to recognize his work or that of his colleagues.
This morning was a great experience that I will start with pleasure. Other workshops are coming and I advise you to inquire (if you’re in Paris) by following their Facebook page or their Instagram account. A workshop about the art of the table or tea are coming. There’s a good chance that you will find me there also …0