For its 28th edition, the Tupiniers du Vieux-Lyon Festival celebrated Egypt’s Fayoum pottery school, inviting students and alumni of the school, as well as its two founders, Evelyne Porret and Michel Pastore, to come and exhibit their work.

On Place Saint-Jean, just outside the Lazaristes’ school courtyard, a large stand featured more than 500 pieces made by current students or alumni of the school. Alongside two Egyptian students, a dozen volunteers from the association were present to sell the pieces to the public.

Inside the Lazaristes courtyard, an exhibition presented the works of Evelyne Porret and Michel Pastore. Next to it, a tent hosted the projection of two documentary films retracing the history and life of the school.

Two workshops, one at Arte Diem (Saint Chamond, Loire), the other at the Maison de la Céramique in Dieulefit (Drôme) followed by an exhibition, completed this edition of the festival.

At a time when Egypt was in the media spotlight for its recent political events, the public gave a warm welcome to the event.


The guests

Born in Switzerland and trained in Geneva, Evelyne Porret and Michel Pastore, were professional potters in France for a few years, before settling permanently in Egypt in 1980.

Their work is inspired by different ceramic traditions from East to West, and nourished by techniques of Islamic ceramics. This blend of influences is what makes their style so unique, creating a new type of ceramics which few potters have been able to achieve.

In Tounès, in the Fayoum oasis, the ceramics school was created in 1988 with the help of the Egyptian government, taking over from a children’s pottery workshop that was initiated by Evelyne Porret. In this school, emphasis is put on creativity. After their apprenticeship, some students were able to open their own workshops.

Four students and alumni, some of whom are still part of the school's staff, managed to travel to Lyon to attend the festival.

The partners

Partly opened to the general public, the Maison de la céramique du Pays de Dieulefit manages a space presenting the history of pottery traditions in Dieulefit, another space for temporary exhibitions, and a ceramics shop. It also offers a range of educational activities for schoolchildren and groups, as well as year-long pottery courses and holiday workshops for amateurs.

As a vocational and economic centre, the Maison de la céramique offers a one-year training course equivalent to a second university year, and provides short courses for professionals.(www.maisondelaceramique.com )

Arte Diem (Saint Chamond) (www.artediem-ceramique.com )