Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Floor & Roof tiles.



One of the things I really enjoy about living where I do, is having easy access to plenty of small scale artisans.


There is a wonderful feeling about going to some man, down the road, and asking him to make something for you.


At the small nearby village of Condat there is one such man. I've bought both my roof and floor tiles from him ever since I arrived in the area. All are hand made from local clay, and all are made in the same way that they've always been made.

Such small enterprises are not rare; I'm sure they exist everywhere. But here they're not regarded as a 'revival'; they never died away in order to be 'revived'.


These ones above are in our 'tower', and if you didn't know, you'd think they'd been in situ for over a century. Plain terracotta, a coat of linseed oil, and some polish, and this is what you get. So much nicer and healthier than industrial made tiles.

This time he just made me a few to finish a small job, but he was as obliging as if I'd ordered a truck-full. Lovely guy; lovely tiles!




23 comments:

  1. Would be lovely to have someone like him here. You are very lucky.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe he could open a NZ branch.

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  2. Yes you are very lucky. We have artisans like that here but the cost is outrageous.

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    Replies
    1. The cost is always a bit higher than the industrial equivalent, but so is the enjoyment.

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  3. What do you use for the final finish?

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    1. After several coats of Linseed, I (Lady M) just use ordinary floor polish. If we had an electric floor polisher, they'd be amazing.

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  4. Love those tiles! When we first viewed our ruin of a house the old terracotta floor tiles were still in place but by the time we got here to live full time they had been 'borrowed' by someone else and we were left with dirt floors!

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    Replies
    1. Oh dear. Our present house had dirt floors except for a few very big flagstones around the hearth, which were probably too heavy to steal.

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  5. Artisans and small businesses are killed off in the western world by mass production and the resulting unrealistic expectations of the customer. Makes me want to weep.

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    Replies
    1. Most tiles sold in France come from Spain. They are usually cheap rubbish.

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    2. I am piggybacking here just to say that what Rachel describes makes me weep too. I'm fortunate to be old enough to have some useful household items that are the "real" version, not knock-offs that fill most shops now.

      Best wishes.

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  6. In line with Rachel's comment above, we in the U.K. are offered all these rustic, hand made terracotta stuff, but only by outlets like 'Fired Earth', who put a 500% mark-up on it and sell it to the tasteful rich.

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    1. P.S. Do you remember that amazing little pottery near the Watts Gallery, just outside Farnham? They had huge kilns to fire the hand-thrown chimney pots which they specialised in. Simon went there to have some huge, decorative urns made, and they made them very cheaply - they were delighted to have something else to do. I wonder if it still exists. I hope so.

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    2. Yes, I do remember the pottery, it's just the type of business I like to use. If one doesn't, they die.

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    3. Usually if one does, they die anyway. If some entrepreneur thinks they can undercut these little family firms by getting the stuff made using overseas child labour, or a large country wants to undermine the UK economy by flooding the market with goods too cheap to be refused by ordinary people, then that's what happens.

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  7. We have them on our terrace and they came from our local guy. I wanted to have the little six-sided tiles on our outside front area, they had to be mass produced but I love them.
    The only downside to tiles is that fumble a glass or plate and there is no chance of a bounce!

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    Replies
    1. Those little six sided tiles are fantastic. Like all of these hand made tiles, the older they get the more beautiful they become.

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  8. Ah yes. When we do the roof of a friend's house in the Vienne we just go and get tiles which have been made in the area since time immemorial.

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    Replies
    1. It's very satisfying; isn't it. One becomes part of a long tradition.

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  9. I always use local vendors when I can. They care more about their products than the big box stores. Besides, they are my neighbors.

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    Replies
    1. And if you use them often, they look after you.

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  10. Brilliant and long may it continue. you;ve done the most essential thing though and that's to use him and put business his way.

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