The art of Earth and Fire

Pascale Mestre: the precious mixed clays from the Apt Valley

Pascale Mestre

Pascale Mestre is one of the few masters in mixed-clay faience, she  pursues her art, right in the heart of the Apt Valley where it all began more than three centuries ago.

This valley is also known as the « Valley of Ochres » or the « French Colorado », in reference to the many colors of its clay-based soil, which goes from red to yellow and orange but can also be white and black. In the nineteenth century the region was renowned for its natural pigments, which were extracted from the soil. Today, these ancient ochre quarries, shaped in galleries and multi-colored fields by years of extraction, have become an enchanting fire-colored landscape, surrounded by mountains, « fairy chimneys » and pine forests.

The Apt region has been renowned for its mineralogical riches and its unique faience for more than three centuries. In 1728, César Moulin created the first manufacture of fine faience. Forty years later, his sons invented the now famous technique of mixed clays. This technique consists in mixing clays of different colors to obtain, after firing, a magnificent multi-colored marbling throughout the whole thickness of the dough. A very thin, transparent glaze is applied after the first firing to enhance the texture and the colors of the faience. The Apt Faience continues to be renowned throughout the world thanks to the talent and creativity of artists such as Pascale Mestre.

Pascale continues the tradition of the Apt Faience with great passion and has developed her very own style. She developed a specific technique to prepare the clays, which allows her to obtain original and unique patterns. Also, after studying synthetic colors and natural oxydes, cobalt, coper, chrome, she created her own palette of shades. Pascale’s style is minimalistic, she let’s the colors of the earth speak by themselves.

She designed the lid of our candle, Midi Eternel ; she narrates the facets of the perfume with specific shapes and carefully selected colors : there is the blinding sun of a summer day, the white limestones, the deep blue of the mediterranean sea, the pine needdles and pine cones which cover the paths with their brown hues…a clay which reflects the South of France, the Midi !

Each lid is unique, numbered and signed by the artist.