Yesterday, I went to one of the five largest pottery markets in Europe. For the past weekend, the bi-annual Aubagne Argilla Marché Potier brought the city, best known for its association with Marcel Pagnol, to life.
The outdoor market included 190 ceramic artists from 17 countries. This year, Argilla decided to honour the artisans of Italy in particular. As a result, everything from the entertainment, food and a large percentage of the ceramic artists were Italian. I almost felt like I was back in Florence as the heart-quickening drums for the flag-throwers started up and I could smell the mix of Parma ham and Chianti in the air. Wonderful.
The market showcased every type of ceramic art one can imagine. Statues, bowls and plates, teapots that are works of art, and so on. The colours were mesmerising.
The pottery market season generally goes from April to the beginning of September here in Provence (after that there is more of a focus on Santonnier markets which are traditional Provencal figures used to populate nativity scene displays). There are still a few markets left if you’d like to see some of the local artists that create unique and colourful works of art that are perfect for gifts or souvenirs of Provence.
Some useful vocab:
Faïence: painted often floral designs on a white tin-glazed earthenware pottery
Terre Vernissée: Glazed earthenware
Terre Mêlée: Marbled pottery (from Apt)
Grès: Stoneware (fired at a very high temperature)
Raku: Traditional Japenese technique used to make tea-ceremony vessels, usually hand-shaped
Upcoming Marché Potiers:
d’Arvieux en Queyras- 25 artists
Castellane (Alpes de Haute Provence) -20 artists
Sault (lavender and pottery festival)
Apt- 30 artists
Le Beausset (Var)- 28 artists
Crillon-le-Brave – 30 artists
A great website to see examples of local work as well as providing a list of local artisans and markets is: