The roots of pottery at La Borne
La Borne is a hamlet on the outskirts of the towns of Henrichemont and Morogues in the Cher department of central France. Since the 13th century, pottery-making has been recorded in the area, however it was not until the 15th Century that potters were able to master the firing techniques suiting local clay, a stoneware clay fired at 1280°C. When fired at this temperature, the clay becomes watertight. La Borne’s golden age was during the 19th century. There were 21 workshops each one with a master potter, turners and labourers, who kept the “shop” (the term for the potters’ workshops) running. The use of the large-scale hill-climbing kilns was shared. Wares such as salting pots, terrine dishes, milk jugs and chimney pots were all sold throughout the centre and west of France.
The traditional potteries went into decline in the middle of the 20th century, either due to competition from other materials or because the wares no longer were what people were looking for.
Although at this time other pottery villages disappeared, La Borne underwent a rebirth. Ceramic artistes such as Jean and Jacqueline Lerat, André Rozay and Vassil Ivanoff came here to learn the secrets of clay from the old potters.