Mairie de Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire - The Puisaye: the strength of clay

The Puisaye: the strength of clay

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The Puisaye: the strength of clay

Home of the writer Colette and the setting of many of her novels, the Puisaye is an attractive land of forests and moist valleys that stretches 15 minutes from Cosne to the north-east of the Upper Loire Valley and Nivernais and extends into Yonne towards Auxerre.

"And if you arrived in my country on a summer's day, at the bottom of a garden I know, a garden black with greenery and with no flowers, if you watched a round mountain turning blue in the distance while the pebbles, butterflies and thistles were coloured with the same mauve and dusty azure, you would forget about me, and you would sit down there, never to move again until the end of your life!"

(extract from "Vrilles de la vigne" by Colette, 1908)

An age-old craft...

Plentiful deposits of clay are exposed here. From the fourteenth century, potters used it to produce large numbers of items for daily life. The Puisaye has long been one of France's main centres of stoneware production.

...still very much alive

The Puisaye is also the land of ochre, a pigment believed to be from the south but which decorates the vaults of our churches in sumptuous frescoes. The return to the traditional values of craftsmanship restores these ochres, yellow, red or brown, to their rightful place in the plaster of our rural buildings. They are like an extension of the soil in the façades, enabling buildings to flow seamlessly into the landscape.

In practice

The National Centre for Initiation and Training in Pottery (CNIFOP), in Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye, welcomes trainees all year round. Here they can benefit from valuable teaching provided by highly skilled professionals.

The association "Terres et couleurs" aims to promote a return to ochre, found in the natural environment and the heritage of the Puisaye, in artistic activity, crafts and industry.

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Mairie de Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire

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