Thursday, September 17, 2009

Métiers d'Art

Last weekend we had a stand at an art festival in La Perrière, a lovely village not far from our home. It is the first time we have participated in something like this. Art markets are quite common in France, and not just at Christmas time. People enjoy seeing handmade items and these events can be quite well attended. They expected 1500 people to visit the one we were part of. In June there is a Marché d'Art where painters, sculptors and fine artists of every persuasion bring their work. This entire little village is crowded with stands and parking is held in large fields. It's almost like a rock concert or a ball game. When we attended last summer we found it phenomenal that so many artists and spectators came to this litte out-of-the-way village to participate. When we went to the tourist office to gather more information for possible participation in next year's event, they told us that in September, they hold another marché, but this time for crafts people, rather than fine artists. We felt that we probably fall somewhere in the middle of those two categories, but decided to give it a go for the September event. Certainly the crafts market was not so well attended as the June event, but it was lots of fun nonetheless and we met some interesting other crafts people. The woman on one side of us made painted porcelain jewelry. On the other side the woman made theatrical costumes. There were several wood workers, furniture makers,people doing trompe l'oeil, potters, clever toy makers, jewelers of every description and some embroidery artists. It was a very diverse group of people. We received some publicity as two newspapers featured our photo and wrote up a bit about us for their local circulation. We weren't the only English-speakers featured at the market, but we were the only Americans. I guess we're a novelty and so make a good focus for an article. Rick had a lot of people interested in our photogravure process. The idea at the festival was to give demonstrations of our crafts. We brought our little letterpress and ran off some cards which we gave away to children. We did sell some prints, but our books and cards were the biggest hit. La Perrière itself is a really charming village, well worth a visit if you're ever in the neighborhood. We have enjoyed lunch or tea at the chic Maison d'Horbe many times. It is a magical place, overgrown with vines, alive with bubbling fountains and birds, richly decorated with statuary and potted plants. Tea is served in mismatched antique tea cups with antique silver spoons. They have a boutique with a gourmet food section, selling their cakes, creams and jams and an antique section where they sell all manner of little knick knacks. We have several photos of La Perrière up on our website. La Perrière is perched on a hill and the view of the Perche countryside all around is unspoilt. The view from most of the residences is spectacular. Since the Perche is close to Paris, lots of Parisians have second homes in this area. La Perrière is a particular favorite, because of its charm and location. It makes the village prosperous and well-tended. As we left town after our weekend as artist/merchants, we took a new road and discovered this pretty château just outside town. It's a pleasure to discover something new around an unexplored bend in the road.


  1. Oh...the chateau is lovely as are all your photos. Makes me wish I were having tea with you. Thanks for sharing.
    your friend,

  2. Thank you for the suggestions on when and where to visit in Paris. I may never get there, but I hope to. If I do I will find your place to. I found your blog by accident and check every once in awhile when I feel the need to wander in my mind.
    You make France come alive for me . . .

  3. Hi Nancy
    Is the tourism bureau of France employing you to tempt us will all these great blog posts?
    I'm sure you were as interesting to the women either side of your stand too. Sounds very inspiring.