My current tiny and cute studio is located in the center of a small town of about 2000 inhabitants in L'Aisne, in a quiet and green courtyard.
The large window is perfect for observing the passage of the seasons and for listening to the birds, and the small community of the courtyard provides enough animation and contacts for me to feel welcome and supported.
An ideal environment for creativity.
This attempt to settle in the Oise was very short-lived. Yet everything seemed at first to be in place for me to have the studio of my dreams and to develop my activity.
Well, that's life!
After spending a very frustrating year without a studio, the small temporary work space in the basement of a former bank in the Massy shopping center, transformed into a micro coworking/"third place" by Le Plateau Urbain, seemed fabulous to me!
It was a community of less than ten businesses with convivial moments around shared lunches - but unfortunately covid arrived to restrict interactions.
Thus, the exploration of possible cooperations and joint projects was cut short and the experience, from this point of view, was less rich than expected.
On the other hand, this rather solitary period favored the search for new avenues of expression and experimentation.
All in all, this experience was quite positive despite the circumstances.
A moderate-size coworking/"third place" managed by Le Plateau Urbain in Porte de Saint-Ouen in Paris. A whole building destined to become a convent was at our disposal for a little less than a year. And what a top rate experience it was!
A shared studio with Céline from Le Garage Fourgon, already my studio-mate at Les Grands Voisins, the good vibes, the collaborations with occupants from all walks of life (I am thinking of Wexample in particular), the collective meals, the passionate marathon discussions over a few drinks, the parties...
It was short and intense - definitely a special milestone in my personal and professional development that will remain for a long time my top reference for coworking/"third place".
It was an unforgettable experience to work for a year in this huge hive of innovative and alternative urbanism in the heart of Paris.
A new kind of "third place" created and managed by Le Plateau Urbain, L'Aurore and Yes We Camp within the former Saint Vincent de Paul Hospital, Les Grands Voisins gave the impression that life and creativity swarmed there 24/7, it just never seemed to stop.
Studios and workshops - including mine - frequently remained illuminated all night because the atmosphere invited you to use every moment of the day to work and to enjoy the chance of being there.
My first real studio was on the 2nd floor of the Lepage building, at the farthest and very quiet end of the old hospital area. Shared with two other creatives, including Céline from Le Garage Fourgon, it was a studious place but also rich in discussions and fun.
It's here that I could at last set free my creativity, thanks to the space I had and thanks to my first kiln - a necessary and decisive change for someone who'd been squatting other people's kilns and studios for three years.
Sharing a studio can be tricky, but the experience at Lepage showed me that when it goes well it's really the best way to work.
One very precious square meter just for me in a workshop shared over a short period with a stone/wood sculptor, a carpenter and a jeweler at the gates of the Père Lachaise cemetery.
An iron motivation and the perspective of my first Parisian exhibition gave me the strength to make the journey from my 14th just long enough to prepare the extra pieces needed for the exhibition.
What I learned: ceramics do not mix well with stone and wood dust; an electric kiln without a programmer is difficult to manage for those who want to define firing curves and temperatures with precision; there are distances and routes that one does not travel for long time whatever the motivation; there are small work spaces in which a good organization make things tolerable - there are others where you only suffer the confinedness whatever you do; it is quite an art to glaze your pieces without a glaze gun.
This period rich in teachings gave me the impetus to show more ambition in my professional life, hence my application to obtain a studio of sufficient size in Les Grands Voisins - only 500m from my flat. An upgrade I never came to regret!
A small associative workshop whose main members came from the weekly ceramics courses of the O.E.P.F. of the 14th district.
My personal ambition was to build on the skills acquired with our teacher Marianne Koechlin and to experiment on the association of clay and glass as well as on larger formats than at the O.E.P.F. - and above all to just work more.
This research was fruitful, giving me basic skills in glass fusing, but also because the sculptural forms created at that time made me discover with my own hands an aspect of ceramic work unknown to me until then.