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Patrice Voelkel

On my second buying trip to Provence, I happened upon the picturesque home, studio, and shop of Patrice and Sylviane Voelkel. It is nestled in the awe-inspiring countryside near St. Remy (one of my absolute favorite Provencal towns), where I was staying at the time. I had planned a relaxed day exploring the region and was very pleasantly surprised to come around a bend in the road and see a large sign beckoning to me: POTERIE.

The shop was closed when I arrived, so I walked through the small courtyard filled with flowers and knocked on the front door of the house. Patrice answered and patiently listened to me, attempting to explain myself in French. He opened the store for me and turned on the lights, insisting the whole time that he did not speak English. But as my few French words ran out and he realized I was probably going to be a good customer, Patrice gained confidence and proved to speak enough English to answer all my questions. No translation was necessary when it came to his beautiful artwork — I fell in love with the rustic quality and rich colors instantly.

Patrice and his wife Sylviane work together. They use local black clay, which makes their ceramics very heavy! Their bowls, platters, pitchers, and vases are simultaneously contemporary and relaxed, a juxtaposition that is oh-so French.

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