Homme de la Renaissance or The Renaissance Man. We hear of him but often there doesn’t seem to be much convincing evidence of his existence in the 21st Century. Yet there is such a man who walks among us here in the south of France. I am privileged to know one and fortunate enough to witness some of his many talents on a regular basis. Patric was born in Lyon and moved to this area in 1975. He has two sons and two daughters with 7 grandchildren and one on the way. He lives in a nearby village in an Eco home which he designed and built on his own. He is a vegetarian and grows much of his own food. Just who is this man? Is he a musician? A writer? An artist? Yes! He is all of these and so much more. It was my first year in France when I met Patric. For insurance purposes you must obtain a certificate from a chimney sweep, each year, that your fireplace has been cleaned and is safe to operate. I asked around and the number I was given was for Patric. He swept chimneys for 32 years and just retired two years ago.
Music: Patric can play any instrument that he comes in contact with. He also teaches music. Art: Patric studied at Ecole Boulle in Paris. Among his many talents, he is an accomplished wood craftsman, glassblower, painter, and photographer. He enjoys drawing with pen & ink. Patric has worked as a Wood crafter for eight years, at Masonry for five years while still making himself available for his other passions. His love of nature has motivated him to combine sketches and photographs with his writings into a book about edible plants. Perhaps if there is sufficient interest, I shall post further on the book when it is released. Patric loves to travel and related a story of when he was 17 years old how he rode a bicycle with a small motor all the way to Morocco. He has seven cats and his nickname is Patou which is a big shaggy dog found in the Pyrenees. The paintings were done by various artists with the exception of the self-portrait with the clock. Patric has had postcards made from them and uses those as his business cards. While the supply is dwindling, he quickly brought me all the ones I did not have after I saw him in Albas recently. Please do click on the photos so that you can see them better. When I saw Patric last week, I asked him if I could do a post and have him give me some information. For all his accomplishments, he is a modest man. Had it not been for his partner, I would not have had half the details you see here. She was generous and most patient to spend the time with me to uncover some of Patric’s many gifts. Bisous, Léa
Over eight years ago when I was in my early days of the hunt for a house to call home, I briefly visited the village of Cailhau. The house I had been taken to see required more work than I was looking to do but the village seemed to have much to be proud of. However, I should have explored more as there are treasures to behold. The artist community is thriving there and I have finally made it to one of their events. I may have to return soon.
I followed the path and found the first gallery of my journey. “La Bohème”, While I managed to snap a few photos, it was lunchtime and being France, it was closing until late afternoon. Happily I have a few pieces to show from here. There is much more information available on the artists collective if you visit their blog, artcailhau.blogspot.com or if you are on Facebook you can visit at facebook.com/cailhauartistes
Artists of Cailhau carry on in the illustrious footsteps of a great artist who lived in the village and whose family still do. The group of artists that reside there are continuing the path of the earliest well known artist from Cailhau. Archille Laugé (1861-1944) moved to Cailhau in his youth with his parents. Despite his father’s wishes that he study Pharmacy in Toulouse in 1878, he followed his heart enrolling at the Beaux-Arts where he met the artist Bourdelle. At Beaux-Arts he came in contact with artists Alexandre Cabanal (1823-1889), Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921), and Aristide Maillot (1861-1944) and the two were to become lifelong friends. He made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1884 with a depiction of his friend Bourdelle.
Four years later, he left Paris and returned to Cailhau. He made many friends among the locals. During his time in Paris he adopted the divisionist touch of the Neo-Impressionists under the influence of Georges Seurat (1859-1891), he also had a high regard for the works of both Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) and Paul Signac (1863-1935).
Laugé’s paintings and compositions reflect the harsh sunlight so prevalent in the south. Like a number of his contemporaries whose work followed a similar vein, Henri-Edmond Cross ( 1856-1910), Henri Martin (1860-1943) he too was drawn further south continuing to work in and around the area of Collioure. Collioure, the beachside village that charmed Picasso, van Gogh, Cézanne and many more continues to inspire artists and is a must if you are in the south of France.
In 1894 three of his paintings were exhibited at the Salon des Independants, additionally, a number of works at an exhibition which included Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Paul Sérusier (1863-1927), Henri de Toulouse -Lautrec (1864-1901) and Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) in Toulouse. There is much more about the artist available online. Today his great-granddaughter continues to live in Cailhau.
Christine’s creations are available at her Atelier/Boutique located in the centre of the village or you can email her directly at email@example.com Additionally there is the Art Collective site as listed in the beginning of this post.
Bijoux by Matthew/Objet d’art by Matthew
These pieces were on display at the foyer. However, we shall get to his private gallery but most likely in a later post.
More of Anne’s work can be viewed on her site or by visiting Atelier Al Trial.
While Jürgen Engels passed on in January, his wife has graciously made their garden and some of Jürgen’s work available for us to see. While some of his work is still for sale, I did not find contact information. If you are interested I would contact the collective site or one of the other artists.
There is more to see and inspire at Atelier Al Trial in a future post.
Unfortunately, not all artists had contact information available and I was referred to the collective site. I have been on the site a few times trying to identify some of the work. Alas some of the individual sites are temporarily down. Hopefully that will soon be rectified.
In my experience, these art exhibits have something for everyone. I do hope you found something that appealed to you or perhaps some inspiration?
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved — loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo
Anyone who has experienced the delights of Paris knows there are more than can be attended in one visit. Monsieur Hugo lived in the second floor apartment of Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée from 1832 to 1848. During those 16 years, he wrote several of his major works including a large part of Les Misérables (a personal favorite).
While touring number 6 place des Vosges you will observe some of Hugo’s furniture, samples of his writing, drawings, family portraits, and first editions of his work. Additionally, you will see a painting of Hugo’s funeral procession at the Arc de Triomphe. The Chinese salon from his home on Guernsey (years of exile) has been reassembled here.
Despite the fact that Hugo spent a number of years in exile, his funeral was a national event and he was buried in the Panthéon.
One of the most important of French Romantic writers, Hugo was a poet, dramatist and novelist. His best known works include Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
What most of you are not aware of, I have previously published two collections of poetry and have two more in the works (early stages). In addition, I have recently begun my first novel.
At this time, I would like to find a fitting name for my business. So far, a few ideas have come up:
*Press de Tournesol/Sunflower Press
*Corbières (something) Press or (something) Corbières Press
The Corbières is the heart of the wine region where I live and where my heart found a home. Did I mention I love our local red wines?If you follow Found in France, or visit, you will have seen a number of posts from this region with photos. It should reflect the area, the work or both.The selected name will relate to the work I do and my love of France and/or my location.
While I have no prize to offer at this time, my dear friend Christine reminds me, “if people only want to offer suggestions if there is a prize then I say those offerings aren’t worthy!” It will earn my gratitude and mention on the blogs and can include the link to your own blog.
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!
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.
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 remain. 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.