Charles Hair’s studio of pots and more pots galore…

When we visited back in May 2017, the fabulous pottery of Charles Hair in Thizay just along the road from Chez Teresa en route to Chinon it was a revelation in the form of thousands of beautifully crafted pots in various guises – from pots for the kitchen – pots for the table – pots for the garden and of particular interest to me literally hundreds of fabulous tea pots!

One of Charles Hairs fabulous Tea Pots – I adore this particular shade of blue…

The above is the much celebrated kyusu.  Shaped like a kettle this is the Japanese word for Tea Pot.

The premise for our original visit was a Springtime exhibition at the studio  dedicated to the theme of le jardin and as such set within Charles Hair’s lovely garden featuring pots and jardinieres for plants.  These pots were in situ on the greenest of lawns with on the day we visited a glorious backdrop of beautiful roses and one brightly coloured azalea that was of such an intense bright almost electric orange I nearly fainted with delight as it reminded me of the azaleas and rhododendrons of Cornwall and my native Kent.

Pots in situ in the garden of Charles Hair

Charles in his garden at his Studio surrounded by his ubiquitous pots!

Charles Hair’s studio is open most days and is at any time an interesting and vibrant place to visit whether you are a tourist or a local.  The garden has however a rather particular and tranquil quality to it and with the current display of Charles’ brilliant pots especially designed for gardens and patios, this is a treat of a place to visit, especially on a warm summers day.

The magic of pottery chimes at the window…..

Potter Charles, is mainly self-taught in his craft, but he also studied for a time in Japan where he learnt a great deal about technique and also says Charles ” about tea ceremonies”.

Initially when you walk through into the main studio space in Thizay (this is also the home of Charles, his partner Stephanie and their children) you will see a floor that looks rather like Jackson Pollock has recently paid a visit and decided to wildly splash vivid colours across it.  If you look closely at this next photograph you will see the Pollock effect floor!

A perfect pot for any occasion and in this instance for a display of glorious tulips

(Charles explained that if and when the tulips droop, the effect in this vase is like a fan)

By contrast the rest of the space is tranquility incarnate, with a large number of ordered pots on display on glass shelves and systematically arranged according to colour and mainly in straight lines.  These are product of an ordered mind I should think…perhaps Charles is a Virgo; I forgot to ask.

Symmetrically lined pots at the atelier of Charles Hair in Thizay

Charles makes his pots on his wheel and then dips them in a solution of mineral powders dipping them for long enough to create the desired colour effect that he wants.   The majority of his work is simple and plain with a wonderful sheen and luster to each pot of every size and hue…..Twenty – thirty years in the making there are literally thousands of pots, bowls and to my delight tea pots and jugs as well as decorated wall plaques.

Charles also creates wall plaques and the sun is a theme on the latter and one can see the influence of the orient on Charles’s work.

The Sun is King at the studio

The pieces are wheel-turned or hand-sculpted and are made using sandstone or porcelain.  What I like about this kind of art and these kind of pieces is the fact that they are decorative, but also useful reminding me of that old William Morris adage of:

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” 

That is my philosophy in life and I think that possibly it might also be the belief of Charles Hair and his family motto.

Pots galore at the studio of Charles Hair in Thizay, just along the road from Chinon

There are pots in the studio, pots in the various lofts and outbuildings; pots in the garden..pots..pots..pots and yet more pots galore…leading me to ask Charles if he could ever imagine himself stopping making pots and wasn’t this passion somewhat of an obsession albeit a glorious one?  He tells me that his wife sometimes poses the same kind of questions.   Pots are clearly his life along with his family of course and as we left I could hear laughter in the garden.  I do urge you to visit soon.

Our homage to Charles Hair and his pottery at Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre

(if you look closely you can see Charles at his potter’s wheel)

We had a group of 14 artists in for a luncheon this week, and they very much admired the exhibits that we have on display of Charles’s work…in particular they referred to the quality and luster of the glaze on the blue bowl with one of them calling out to Kentucky based artist Mary Neely “Come look at this glaze Mary, it is just wonderful!”

This particular group of artists work as part of a co-operative called Artists Attic and are much respected and celebrated in Kentucky and form part of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.

I have long had a love affair with pottery and recall being enthralled when Tony and I visited the studio of Bernard and Janet Leach back in the late 1970s.

Since then we have loved the work of the Kent Potters and the pottery of Jean McCree in particular.  Check out her studio in Newton Road, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

but when in the Loire Valley please do not hesitate to contact the

1 rue des Marais
37500 THIZAY
LONGITUDE : 0.143406 / LATITUDE : 47.167461

02 47 95 90 01

Portes ouvert for Charles Hair

  • from 02/01/2017 to 30/12/2017 : from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00 (except Monday – Tuesday – Sunday morning)

Earlier on in the year Charles Hair co-hosted an exhibition at the studio of Einav Benzano, our local and very talented maker of original jewellery.  Here she is emerging behind one of Charles Hair’s pots…It was a unique collaboration.  Einav’s studio is next to us at Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre

The very beautiful Einav behind one of Charles Hair’s fabulous pots…or is she emerging from it?  Who can tell?  I anyway love the luster and pattern on this pot!

Summer is a “comin in loudly sing cuckoo…”

Come in for a cuppa and a chat to Chez Teresa about pottery and the arts anytime…

6, av Rochechouart, Fontevraud l’abbaye

just next to the l’abbaye royale…

For more information about the work of Jean McCree check out the

Kent Potters Association Picture Gallery – Jean McCree

Jean McCree. I am an established sculptor and potter having worked, exhibited and taught for over 20 years and am an active member of the Kent Potters …

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