Lez’ Arts Chez Nous

Bienvenue!
Bienvenue!
So delicate!
So delicate!

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A blue sky was over Chateau Bonnafous welcoming the local artists, artisans and all who joined in. The grounds, facilities and location are perfect for the many events held here. This is an annual event and there are always a few artists/artisans that we have seen previously.

We had a beautiful day for admiring the talents and skills of so many local residents. There is also the opportunity to purchase some of the items and to talk with the vendors. Naturally, you will be surrounded by friends, family, neighbours but perhaps make a few connections. Most of the tourists have moved on as the season’s change.

In addition to the singing group there was a concert held later in the evening. An actor read some poetry. Being a poet myself, I was disappointed that it was not his own work but he read so well with a voice that really held you. One woman brought her loom and gave demonstrations of weaving and had numerous examples of her work.

The majority of work is visual so I shall let the pictures do the talking!

Bisous,

Léa

Apéritifs
Apéritifs
Acapella group, songs from around the world
Acapella group, songs from around the world

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Stained Glass
Stained Glass

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Author: Linda Bastide
Author: Linda Bastide

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Le Moulin à Papier: Part III

Continued from Part II

Sieve
Sieve

The Dutch pile has been filled with the previously smashed paste inside the millstone grinder.

Dutch pile produces a very thick past that must be diluted in a tank. The resulting product will be 1 – 3 percent paste concentrate and 97 – 99 percent paste solution. A sieve is used to separate the fibres. A sieve is used to separate the fibres from the water. Each sieve is crafted by professionals and are imported from England. The tightened brass wires keep them parallel to each other with thick embossed seams.  The sieve consists of a thin plain metal canvas to create a vellum paper. The paper-maker attaches a wire to the canvas. The wire’s pattern gives the pieces of information on the paper’s size and who created it ( eagle, bell…). The removable frame cover fits the sieve and gives the paper shape and thickness. There are frames to form special papers, envelopes and other shapes.  The marks are called watermarks.

Sheets drying on the ropes
Sheets drying on the ropes

With the paste diluted, the fibres are mixed with a stick then the sieve is quickly plunged into the tank. As the water begins to drain off the sheet of paper is formed. The sheet is laid on a piece of woollen felt. One hundred sheets is called a ‘porse’. The more the past is diluted the thinner the page will be. Increase the paste for thickness.

When the sheets are piled without the felt it creates cardboard.

Drying: The sheets are lifted with a wooden stick and hung on ropes. The thicker the sheet of paper the longer the drying time. The other factor is the weather. It can vary from a few hours in the summer to several days in the winter. The sheets are lifted with a stick and brushed onto plain warm boards or on brick walls warmed by the fire in Japan. In

Drying garments, pages and other creative projects
Drying garments, pages and other creative projects

Brousses inspiration is taken from the Japanese method. The paper is laid on a synthetic material and then compressed and hung on the dryer. When the drying is complete, the pages are unstuck. The paper is flatter and smoother. If a coarse-grained paper is desired the sheet is layed on a coarser grained felt.

Once the paper has dried it has the consistency of blotting paper and must be waterproofed. The gluing is a process of applying a coating of gelatine. However, the process has changed and currently the gelatine is added to the paper-paste.

Smoothing: Pages require smoothing once they come out of the dryer. They are not smooth or flat. Today they are compressed within a few hours on the hydraulic compressor.

Coloured paper: A coloured paper is made from cotton cloths. White paper is made with lightened cellulose. Brown pages are created from plants or animal dung.

One of the dresses worn at the Paper Lovers Night!
One of the dresses worn at the Paper Lovers Night!

Large sheets: The special sheets, 3.4 meters long by 2.2 meters wide were specially crafted here at Brousses. Six to eight people are required to handle the special sieve. There is also a special tank that is assembled for when it is required.

The dresses were created by the visual artist, Catherine Cappeau, and worn every 14th August for a special musical event, Paper Lovers’ Night or in French Nuit des Papyvores.

Bisous,

Léa

All in a stunning setting! Make a day of it.
All in a stunning setting! Make a day of it.

Le Moulin à Papier: Part II

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Paper was invented in the 2nd century B.C. by the Chinese. In 400 A.D. the Japanese and the Koreans were utilizing blackberry bushes by taking the shoots, steaming them and peeling them and left to soak in water until very soft and pliable. This is then boiled off in a mixture of ashes and water then laid out on smooth surfaces and beaten with sticks until a paste is obtained. This paste is diluted and then prepared to become a sheet of paper.

The monopoly to create paper was maintained by Asia for nine hundred years!

It was until 751 A.D. when Chinese prisoners in the battle of Tales gave up the secret to the world of Islam. As the knowledge to create paper spread in the Arabic world it also spread to the Western world where the paste was created from flax and hemp utilising rags or plants.

The vital component of paper paste is cellulose which is found in every plant.

Since the mid nineteenth century, cellulose has been extracted from its plant/wood source by the use of chemical treatments. This method dissolves the plants flesh and what remains is the cellulose.

In nature, the cellulose is brown. By treating the past with chlorine, a white paper was achieved. A lesser quality paper is achieved by retaining some of the plant’s flesh and the texture is the type of newspaper.

Paper without chemicals is possible. A man named Tripot took out a patent to create paper from horse dung in 1841 after noting that animals such as deer, cattle and antelopes did not digest cellulose. A factory in Paris turned out paper made from dung.  The mill here in Brousses has been making their handcrafted papers from elephant dung supplied by the African Reserve located in Sigean and the dung of horses.

Millstone
Millstone beneath a paper gown

Up until the mid 1800’s, paper paste had only been made from hemp, cotton and flax rags. (ropes, cloth…).However, in the present at Brousses mill paper is made mostly of rags (cotton). Plates of cellulose are purchased from a provider in the Ariège region. This is necessary as currently, fabrics no longer contain either flax or hemp. The factory receives tons of flax and hemp plants every week which they extract the cellulose with chemicals, whiten and make paper or compact paste. This cellulose can be used just like a rag.

The colour of the paper will depend on the colour of the rag product. Blue paper is frequently made from blue jeans (cotton) and black from black cloth. Brousses mill never uses colouring agents.

Rags into paper: Rags: old clothing or other materials are stripped of buttons, zippers and even the seams are cut. Then the rags are cut into strips and sorted by colour and wear.

Then the rags are soaked in tanks

After a 2 – 6 week soak (fermentation) and impurities have been “burned” removed, the rags are set to become paste. Then they are cut into very small pieces and lain on large plates.

Mallet Pile: Invented in Italy toward the end of the 13th century and the beginning of mechanization. A bucket wheel drives an axis which drives the mallets in three tanks. Eight to ten kilos of rags are thrown into the first tank. Over a period of 20 hours the rags are smashed repeatedly by hammers which are covered with sharp nails. The rags are then transferred to a second tank where hammers with flat-headed nails refine the fibres that SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAremain. In the third tank leather covered hammers refine the paste even further. While this machine accomplishes its task quite well, it is very noisy and time consuming.

Dutch pile: Invented in 1670 in Holland the Dutch pile or Crushing cylinder. They were initially driven by bucket wheels then later switched to turbine. Tanks were filled with 50 kilos of unfermented rags and 1,000 litres of water. The wooden cylinder attached with metal strips kneads the rags rubbing them agains other strips of metal or “platen” which are in the bottom of the tank. Due to a clamping screw, the cylinder can be lowered onto the platen. The result is that the paper-maker is capable of crushing the fibres while refining the paste numerous times utilizing the same machine. This machine is still working in numerous paper mills today.

Millstone grinder: This is driven by electrical power. The granite millstones weigh 3.3 tons each. The heaviest lays on the bottom of the tank weigh 4 tons each. It takes the millstone grinder one and a half hours to crush 300 kilos of moistened fibers, which was to recycle old papers.

Dutch pile and millstone grinder: Paste circulates inside the Dutch pile and covers the cylinder. The paste is ready. The plug is removed and allows the paste to flow down into a lower tank then onto the paper machine where water is added to the paste. The Dutch pile has been filled with the previously smashed paste inside the millstone grinder.

Dutch pile produces a very thick past that must be diluted in a tank. The resulting product will be 1 – 3 percent paste concentrate and 97 – 99 percent paste solution. A sieve is used to separate the fibres. A sieve is used to separate the fibres from the water. Each sieve is crafted by professionals and are imported from England. The tightened brass wires keep them parallel to each other with thick embossed seams.  The sieve consists of a thin plain metal canvas to create a vellum paper. The paper-maker attaches a wire to the canvas. The wire’s pattern gives the pieces of information on the paper’s size and who created it ( eagle, bell…). The removable frame cover fits the sieve and gives the paper shape and thickness. There are frames to form special papers, envelopes and other shapes.  The marks are called watermarks.

With the paste diluted, the fibres are mixed with a stick then the sieve is quickly plunged into the tank. As the water begins to drain off the sheet of paper is formed. The sheet is laid on a piece of woollen felt. One hundred sheets is called a ‘porse’. The more the past is diluted the thinner the page will be. Increase the paste for thickness.

When the sheets are piled without the felt it creates cardboard.

Drying: The sheets are lifted with a wooden stick and hung on ropes. The thicker the sheet the longer the drying time. The other factor is the weather. It can vary from a few hours in the summer to several days in the winter.

 

Bisous,

 

Léa

Paper garments
Paper garments
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Le Moulin à Papier: Part I

Le Moulin à Papier
Le Moulin à Papier: Entrance

The paper mill of Brousses is located in the Montagne Noir. The village and the mill are nearby Montolieu (village of books).

Once again with someone visiting, it was off and the paper mill was one we both had never seen. There is a tour and you can follow in French or English. I believe there may be printed tours in other languages but will leave there site information so that you may check should you be in the area.

Even without the paper mill, the trip is well worth making. The beauty is stunning and invites exploration, photography and perhaps a picnic.

Upon entering the mill we had a wait of but a few minutes before setting off on the tour. Yet due to the lush setting, it is a surprise we got in at all. The paths and the river beckoned me to continue wandering.

The Bucket Wheel: This water engine drove the paper machine which stands in the current shop up until 1981 and has produced electricity until the 1950’s. The bucket wheel and paddlewheel are both water engines.  – water falls down onto the bucket wheel to produce waterpower; this type of vertical wheel is primarily in the mountains. – the paddlewheel is driven by water running underneath and can be

The turbine
The turbine

found mostly in the plains.

The turbine: Upstream, the watercourse of the river “La Dure” is diverted through a canal and brought into a pond right above the mill. Prior to 1920, there had been three bucket wheels, one on each floor. In 1920, two wooden bucket wheels were replaced by turbine, due to the damage obtained with the period of inactivity during World War One.  The structure of the turbine consists of a horizontal wheel inside a cylindrical tank; water drives this wheel, which drives a horizontal axis and driving the machines on the upper level.

Watermarks: A watermark is a tiny lightness in the paper, where the paper is actually thinner. To obtain this lightness, the paper-maker lays a wire on the paper canvas; the result is that the paper past is less thick where the wire was placed. The paper-maker can create his own watermark… his signature! The first paper-maker was named Polère; he settled in Brousses in 1694.

The region of Carcassonne was renowned for its woollen fabrics. Among the Royal Factories who would produce fabrics, two were on the river La Dure.  The paper-makers produced cardboard used for the presses and leaves used to wrap the fabrics.

Watermark Window
Watermark Window

There were 617 water mills and hundreds of windmills spread out over the region. The river Dure was home to 67 waterwheels and 27 textile workshops. The village of Brousses alone was home to 12 watermills of which half were paper mills.

Today, the sole working paper mill in the region is Brousses. The Chaila family has been producing cardboards since 1820. They purchased the mill in 1877 and made paper from machines up until 1984. The seventh generation of the family made the decision to handcraft paper in 1994.

Watermarks were used to specify the size of the paper. Bell and grape were among the names to designate what are now standard sizes A4, A3 and others.

When paper was held against a light source the network of lines could be seen. You were assured that this was laid paper. If the paper were

Papyrus
Papyrus

plain it was called vellum paper. An imperfection or stain was a defect and known as the paper-maker’s tear. Normally, the paper is ecru-coloured. However, paper-makers frequently add some blue when combining the paper paste with the intention of increasing the whiteness of the product. When this has been done you can see the increased whiteness of the paper when the light has been turned off and it produces a vast difference.

The watermark on banknotes is created by a metal plate that the printer engraves, heats up then presses against the paper canvas. This results in an accumulation of paste in the hollow parts and they turn darker in colour. The flat parts which receive less of the paste will turn significantly lighter.

Papyrus: made from a water plant by the Egyptians around 3500 B.C. Stems from the plants were cut into long, thin and wide strips; these were tightly woven together.

Parchment: From the second century B.C. Pergamon, Asia The hides of various animals such as goats, sheep calf’s were used as writing paper. For a thinner product the hide of a calf that was born dead or died within a few days. This higher quality hide was thinner and whiter.

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Bisous,

Léa

Guide holding form alongside atub of paper past for dipping
Guide holding form alongside atub of paper past for dipping
Forms, paper paste and cloths for drying
Forms, paper paste and cloths for drying
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Guide begins documentary beneath paper garments
Guide begins documentary beneath paper garments
Formed page will be placed on damp cloth to dry slowly
Formed page will be placed on damp cloth to dry slowly

Holiday and Saturday Market – Carcassonne

Free parking in the center of town, amazing!
Free parking in the center of town, amazing!

The Saturday market is quite crowded as vendors from all around the country join in to sell some of their wares. With my friend Yvonne back in town for a weekend, we were off to the markets where the produce is at its best. Naturally, it would be unthinkable not to stop for a coffee on the way back.

We knew from the moment we arrived that the merchants in town were determined to bring the customers in.  It is not often you are greeted with a gift wrapped parking pay-point!

If ice skating interests you, give it a go! Skates are available for rent and at night there is live music.

Even if you are one of those who completed their shopping early, it can be fun to see what is available and stop for a coffee or one of the many treats on offer.

Bisous,

Léa

Vendors from Alsace with their yummy pretzels
Vendors from Alsace with their yummy pretzels
IMG_6906
For kids of all ages and sizes!
Bargains, bargains and more bargains!
Bargains, bargains and more bargains!
Ice skating anyone?
Ice skating anyone?
You can even by a bed and they deliver!
You can even buy a bed and they deliver!
Produce at Place Carnot
Produce at Place Carnot
There are 12  cafés to choose from in the square
There are 12 cafés to choose from in the square and all are crowded
Saturday market offerings
Saturday market offerings
Spices!
Spices!
Gifts and tasty treats
Gifts and tasty treats
Italian Restaurant on the square
Italian Restaurant on the square – one of many
Hot roasted chestnuts anyone?
Hot roasted chestnuts anyone?

Ecole Primaire: End of year extravaganza!

Ecole Primaire / Primary Schools: End of year extravaganza!

The French primary school covers the ages of six – eleven. This covers the equivalent of England’s school years of 3 – 6 and US grades 1 – 5. Subjects are divided into three main groups: 1. French, history, civic studies and geography 2. Science, math and technology 3. Physical education and sports, music and arts and crafts.

French law mandates Twenty-four hours of instruction per week. While some flexibility is given to the teacher as to which subjects to spend    time on each week. A national curriculum, which was established in 2008, provides additional class time and individualized assistance for students at risk of falling behind.

The Ministry of Education states that the official direction of a French elementary education is: “to ensure acquisition of the basic tools of knowledge: oral and written expression, reading and arithmetic. Its objective is to stimulate the development of the child’s intelligence, artistic sensibility, manual and physical skills and sporting abilities. It provides grounding in the plastic and musical arts, and, in conjunction with the family, undertakes the child’s moral and civil education.” The parents will observe that a great emphasis is placed on the basic skills: reading, writing and arithmetic.

Is there an opportunity for the child to learn a second language, if so, would that be English? The teacher will choose the language that he/she wants to expose to her students. As a result, the child may learn the basics of Spanish one year and English the next. Also, the standard of language instruction will vary depending on the teacher’s skills in that area. Should your primary language be other than French, it is advised you not rely on the teacher to substitute teaching the child’s native tongue. On numerous occasions it has been found that English-speaking children educated in French primary schools quickly become fluent and articulate in French and not progress in the native tongue without support from the parents. Among the list of supplies each student is required to obtain each year is a notebook that will be used not only by the child but also by the teacher and parents. It provides another link or way to communicate. The parents are expected to check the notebook for messages and sign to show that they have received any relevant information. Requests for meetings with the teacher or school principal would appear in the notebook. For more information you may want to visit: http://www.education.gouv.fr

The photos here represent the end of the school year festivities in a small village. It does happen to be where I live. There are 60 children enrolled and six classes, six teachers and a number of assistants. In addition, there is a British woman who resides here and volunteers to assist teachers that choose to teach English. Each year, the entire village is invited to attend an event put on by the students. They will perform theatrical skits; recite poetry, sing, and dance. At the end of the festivities, the teachers are presented with floral bouquets. The schoolyard is filled to overflow each year and many are left to watch from the outside the school yard gates. Even villagers without children or grandchildren will come to support the students and teachers.

Bisous,

Léa