Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Tolix Chairs

The article I just found below appeared in the Independent. I googled  Tolix and was surprised to find  these chairs were actually made here in The Morvan. The name Pauchard of which it's designed by is everywhere here.  I often see stools, tables or chairs in the small ads here in France, for substantial amounts of money. Typically 50 Euros for a pair of chairs. I spotted the one above in a local garage. Anyway we have ongoing car adventures. Today we lost a fan belt whilst trying to get to see a Salamandre stove. Luckily we hadn't yet left home and so were able to take another spare car. We have a few crap cars and a lovely van, that's still in the garage waiting for parts. The stove turned out to be badly broken. The back where the chimney flue fits to the collar was really badly smashed so with sadness I walked away. The man selling had forewarned me. He'd put an advert up and only when I rang to inquire he spotted the damage. It was so heavy otherwise I think I may have taken it and we may have used it for a garden feature. We hear more snow is coming so instead of the stove we went to the Cooperative for more sheep nuts. 
Here is the link for the stove I nearly bought.

Xavier Pauchard was born in 1880 in Le Morvan, known as the green heart of France. Unsurprisingly wood was the most important construction material but despite that, he and his father and grandfather before him were zinc roofers.

In 1907, Pauchard discovered that he could protect sheet metal from rusting by dipping it in molten zinc, or galvanising it. Ten years later, he set up a factory making steel household items and eventually registered his trademark symbol as Tolix, by which name the company is still known.
That classic chair, a favourite of cafés and retro kitchens all over the world, was designed in 1934. It was meant to be outside in all weathers, which is why there are holes in the seats – to allow the rain to drain off. But café owners were quick to complain that the chairs wouldn't stack properly and Pauchard had to tweak his design. By 1956, the classic Tolix was finally created. With its slimmer frame, you could now stack 25 chairs to a height of 2.3 metres.
They were immediately popular, not just in cafés, where right up until the 1970s they were often given out by breweries in return for the owner stocking their brand, but also in factories, offices and hospitals.
By the end of the 1950s, the factory had about 80 workers and produced some 60,000 units annually. The company remained in the family until 2004. Now, the chair is part of the collections of the MoMA in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Vitra design collection in Weil am Rhein in Germany.
You can buy them new from the Conran shop for £195 or you can hunt about for a vintage one and prices will vary. The modern ones come in around 50 colours, while the vintage are more classically red or their natural steel colour.
Sir Terence Conran is one of several influential fans of this simple-looking chair, which, nevertheless, takes around 100 manual operations to create. "Over the years, this chair has come to symbolise what I like to term democratic excellence, meaning that it's mass-produced and universally acceptable," he says.
And just as the Panton S chair was famously featured on the cover of Vogue magazine (with Kate Moss wrapped around it, admittedly. Oh, and she was naked), so the Tolix has just reached the dizzy heights of fame featuring in Agent Provocateur's spring-summer 2011 campaign, though it's just possible that some of you might not be looking at the chair.

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Sommant by pink.rust8

I was inspired by a Saturday outing along a winding road that brings you to the most amazing landscape. You can see for many miles from a ridge. There are the remains of old volcanoes curving into the distance. The land is speckled by small cottages farms and cattle.  There are outcropping rocks and this day we saw clouds bringing along snow.
I bought a wonderful woodstove today too. It's really rather splendid. I am picking it up this Wednesday so I shall post images.
Sommant, a photo by pink.rust8 on Flickr.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I'm painting the garden and George's shed. I'm working from  photographs as it's far too cold to sit outside. The images below were taken from the car window yesterday. The snow is thawing here and much of the snow is slushy and wet now. There is colour in the landscape but very subtle. Oddly the Beech forests surrounding us are coppery still. Leaves  still on the trees. The grass is in unusually good condition and as the snow melts it's still green. It's startling to see my painting against the images below. I seem to be cranking up the palette. I think I have always been a colourist at heart. I'm more toned down these days but it's often bubbling underneath the surface. I remember being interviewed for a place at St Martins School of Art in London.  My paintings were really bright. We used a lot of Gouache in out art college preparing for a place at University. I tended to use as many colours as possible in all my projects. Colour is very much on my mind through these days where light is low and snow covers the land and trees look so dark. I still see colour everywhere but it's a very different experience.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

I just found this image from a article written about 'Assistance Publique' in The Morvan. It's a couple taking in an child who they are being paid to raise. All the peasant farmer's wives were involved in this. The extra money was used to change the roofs from thatched to slate or buy extra land to keep cows. This picture was taken in the village just up from here, Glux En Glenne. Cottages here are tiny the lady who lived across the valley from us had a one bedroomed cottage and had a series of 14 children over the years. Looking after 2 at a time.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Morvan Landscape

Snow plough arrival

By 5 p.m or just before, the sun was turning it's gaze towards the frozen forest and transforming it into Turkish Delight colour. I had been for along walk around the lake and along the road taking photographs of the cottages here and views that might inspire me later. The sun setting on the forest frozen at the tops of the trees is delightful. I haven't managed to really do it justice but I like to keep trying. So lovely to have the sun shining and blue skies. It's been a dull January so far. I saw the snow plough arrive this afternoon. He had been before before light and I managed to encourage him to do our side road. We might make it out tomorrow.

I visited my neighbour who moved here in 1960. She married a local man whose mother took in orphans from Paris. (Assistance Publique) Every house in the village took abandoned children for extra money.Women became Wet nurses the children went to school and at 14 they were packed off to jobs as Butchers, bakers or land workers. I had known about this as occasionally we have a visit from someone who spent their early years in the farm here. I live in a tiny hamlet, it's surprising how many people are related to original in habitants,  houses are saved for future generations.  Selling property is not part of the culture.  There was once 4 café's no cars just donkeys and carts. Donkeys were being used in the 60's.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

I had a trip to Autun this weekend. We had a few things to do and for me it was good to look through the windows of my favourite shop here. Luckily it was shut. Otherwise I would surely have wanted something. I am looking for drawers for clothes. I keep buying jumpers in the 2nd hand shops. The bedroom already has a huge old 'Armoire' . We also have a huge 'Armoire ' in the kitchen and others on the farm too. I discovered a new broc shop and the other place I like Morvan Bio is moving in spring right nextdoor. We have to go next week too, we shall be at there for market day. Great for buying olives and herb plants like Wormwood for Absinthe or I bought a Horseradish, only place I found it here in France. I haven't even seen it in the countryside.

I fell for this cupboard, I'm not sure how useful it would be but it  quite old and it was 160  euros. Seems cheap for something old like this. I bought a post card and a little picture, hand tinted from the 1 euro box. I think I shall start to collect cards of the area. It sort of links in to my interest in painting landscape, describing it as I see it. I can't quite believe anyone came out here to take pictures of these rural villages, it can seem cut off even now. Presumably the railway helped.

Lots of old clocks like this around, many made locally.

Friday, 11 January 2013

The fox came in the night and took away 4 of my friends. It's hard  to realise they are gone. My ducks and geese are just pets they had a sweet life and I feel really bad that I wasn't able to protect them. It's tough having domestic birds you are always on guard wondering if they are safe. You want them to be free and go to the pond check out the marsh without too much intrusion. We normally have a light that comes on when there is any movement but after intense rain it failed. The fence failed too, foxy dug under it. I have a pair of geese, I just hope I can protect them.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Another painting day, here was the stage I was up to last night, still having to play around with the perspective a bit and then the foreground needs a bit of work. The days are still a bit gloomy, we normally have snow and bright sunshine but more recently it's been milder and wetter. We are supposed to be having sunshine, the clouds look like they are lifting a bit. I bought a small cushion and it has been adopted by my 3 legged cat. He has trouble finding something to lean on.

This small Deco stove has been wonderful this year. 
It gives out more heat than a much larger colonial styled one. The cats seem happy and it keeps the teapot warm too.

Swirling cloud over the lake.

Looking into the yard along the house from the back. The front faces into the valley to the south and drops below this level  so that there are rooms downstairs. There was a row of cottages here before. I am planting flowers along this wall for spring and summer, dies back to nearly nothing in winter.

My neighbours house is for sale. I think it was once 2 houses and I believe a bar too.

Traditional stacks of wood, bought well in advance and left to season. To the right there is a small porch like construction, there is a well there.