Saturday, 30 January 2016

Les Oiseaux Rares

Each year, in December, a group of artisans from Cormatin and surroundings organises a two-day exhibition.

Les Oiseaux Rares 2015
Even though Cormatin itself has a rich reservoir of people with creative talents, the members of this group seem to have as their motto "The more the merrier", because each year they invite a number of guest artisans from nearby places. This year the hard core of Les Oiseaux Rares (Rare birds) shared their workshops with these migrant birds. The idea is quite simple: in Cormatin a trail of bird footsteps has been set out, and following this trail one passes all the participating artisans. To make sure that not even one artisan is accidentally not spotted, in front of each workshop a wooden bird (a caricature of the artisan in residence) is placed.

Iris Griot jewelry - Cormatin
Just like the year before one of Cormatin's potters had made 300 unique soup bowls, which could be purchased at € 6 each from each of the participating artists. Again, the hard core of these birds had made a big cauldron of soup, which was simmering away throughout the day. The soup was free of charge, and varied from a simple tomato soup to soups made of slightly more unconventional ingredients.

Pascale Ponsard - Cormatin
To keep a long story short, there is a lot to be admired during those days. The articles on offer were as varying as the soups; they ranged from ceramic, rattan, paintings, felt clothing to hand painted silken shawls. And this is just a random selection from everything on offer. The first day we did not get much further than the workshop of one of our friends (Pascale Ponsard, a silk decorator, who makes not only shawls, but she also decorates material meant for wedding gowns – an extravaganza financially only affordable for Saudi Princes and the like), and the workshop of potter Pierre Arnoud, where it was so hectically busy that we could only view one of the three available rooms.

The second day we had planned our outing a bit more careful. We decided to start our round along the bird's nests around noon. That is the time most French are having their warm meal at home, which gave us the chance to have a good, undisturbed look around. Besides we could have our light lunch trying out the soup made by the various cooks. This set-up worked perfectly. When we had seen enough at around 2 o'clock, both we and our fellow villagers had eaten enough, and while we were leaving the workshops others streamed in.

Soup bowls - Pierre Arnoud - Cormatin
Some soups were a bit strange, though, in terms of ingredients: what to think of a soup made of carrot, curry powder and oranges, or of celeriac, hazelnuts and apple, or of peas, lentils and turnips? What is wrong with chicken soup?
That most likely did not appear on the menu out of solidarity with the less rare birds….

paintings by Jean-Louis Schoffel - Cormatin

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