The mountains are full of hidden gems when it comes to artisanal products. For years, the craftsmen and women here have drawn inspiration from their surroundings and have channelled their beauty into creative artisanal products. It is often on a quaint back street or in a pretty hamlet that one can meet these craftsmen and women, who have made the mountains the muse of their work.
Anne Marmottan, a ceramic artist from Sainte-Foy Tarentaise, Savoie
In addition to her job promoting tourism for the resort of Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise in Savoie, Anne Marmottan has always been passionate about art, and works with stoneware and pottery at her ceramic workshop in Sainte-Foy. Her inspiration? The mountains around her home. Producing bowls, cups, plates and dishes, Anne decorates her work by hand, embellishing it with the crests of the mountains of Haute-Tarentaise. For the ceramics, she uses the fir trees of the forests around Sainte-Foy as models, made with a brush.
What does this activity bring Anne? ‘This work of the earth allows me to refocus on the raw medium and on myself to restore value to handmade products.’
Anne’s other interests include photography, sculpting and clay-modelling, and she has also worked on making resin chandeliers from deer antlers that she moulds.
For more information and contact details, visit: https://www.alpine-concept-store.com/
Didier Périllat-Monet, a saddler from Grand-Bornand in Haute-Savoie
Didier Pérrillat is a local craftsman from Grand-Bornand who practises saddling, an ancestral tradition of working with leather using age-old tools. His workshop and shop can be found in one of the oldest chalets in Grand-Bornand. There isn't a ski champion from this part of France who hasn't been awarded a bell with Didier’s name on it, made at his workshop. The ultimate ambassador for an art-form that has become increasingly rare and for beautiful ‘made in France’ products, Didier runs workshops around his stove to introduce people to leather work, and keeps this noble tradition alive through his skill and loquaciousness. Didier manufactures and sells regional and home-made handicrafts such as saddlebags, handbags, travel bags, belts, bracelets and traditional games.
For more information and contact details: http://www.bourrelier-hautesavoie.com/
Flouka, 100% local wool from le Dévoluy in Hautes-Alpes
Family-run Flouka Farm dates back to 1817 in Maubourg, where sheep farming began, and represents a passion that has been passed down through six generations. Sébastien Arnaud currently runs the family business and raises Merino sheep, known for their high-quality wool. His sister, Séverine, is in charge of development. In a bid to increase the value of his sheep's fleece, in 2017 Sébastien introduced the first Merino wool from Le Dévoluy at Flouka Farm. In addition to being produced locally, this soft, warm wool is washed without chemicals and spun in France. Whether in its primary wool form or as a finished product woven into hats, duvets and other products, Sébastien and Séverine provide a 100% French product.
For more information and contact details, visit https://www.flouka.fr/
Ringing the Obertino bells at the Métabief foundry in Jura
Founded in 1834, the Obertino factory has come a long way. Located in Labergement-Sainte-Marie, near the Métabief resort in Jura, it is one of the last artisanal bronze bell foundries in France. Since then, the company has remained a family business celebrating real expertise that has been handed down from generation to generation, maintaining the same techniques, bar a few small updates. All kinds of bells are produced here, from cattle bells to decorative bells, and also medals. Obertino’s high-quality moulding, casting and finishing have made its bells renowned across the region.
For more information and contact details, visit https://www.obertino.fr/
Crédits photos : @ On met les voiles // @Anne Marmottan // @C. Cattin - ALPCAT Medias - Le Grand-Bornand Tourisme // @OT Devoluy // @Fonderie Obertino