France Bocognani and Caroline Bartoli are inseparable. And there is a 20-year age difference between them!”It’s unusual in friendship,” they concede with a smile. Unusual, yes, but powerful. Age, in fact, is one of the very few things they don’t share. Both originally from Corsica, the two women run Franca together. A creative joint venture they were lucky enough to embark on back in the early days, while they were still learning their craft. The two ceramicists from Marseille learned their traditional skills in the workshop of Maggy Champsaur – mother of the architect and designer François Champsaur. Within a year, Franca was up and running. The “free ceramicists” established themselves in the Saint Just neighbourhood, where they have a small property. There, they show their collections, welcome their customers, and run workshops which give interested parties a behind-the-scenes glimpse of their working practices through making plates and vases. France and Caroline are genuine enthusiasts. Handmade products are an integral part of their lives! Their craft lifts their spirits, and the clay they love allows them to express themselves to the full. Clay has a will of its own, and working with it is a non-exact science, encouraging them to push their boundaries further and further. Their pottery, deliciously curved and irregular, is the reflection of an imaginary world full of artistic references, childhood memories and the warm light that floods into France’s apartment. It is here, surrounded by pieces bought from friends – Nicolas Veidig from the Double V Gallery, the Puces de Fifi antique dealer collective – or pots they have made themselves, that the girls receive us. A joyful interlude, when time stands still, as they talk to The Socialite Family about the spirit of Franca. “The return to hand-made objects, simple pieces that richly reward the time taken to make them” but, above all, a combination of their two personalities united under the same identity.
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