A summer of pottering around French Markets & an Autumn full of Fairs

I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last 3 months in Provence in the South of France and have fallen into the wonderful habit of spending Sunday mornings wandering around local Brocante Fairs to see what I can find to make into jewellery.

The Brocante Fair at Lacoste - what a stunning place for a stall
The Brocante Fair at Lacoste – what a stunning place for a stall

 

It has to be said that the Fairs here are fantastic and I can easily spend a few hours pottering around the stalls looking at what they have to offer, often being distracted by a nice mirror, or a quirky old hip bath which would look great as a garden planter!

Our terrace has certainly benefited from the Sunday morning market visits
Our terrace has certainly benefited from the Sunday morning market visits

 

Needless to say much coffee has been drunk and many croissants have been eaten, but I’ve succeeded in finding some lovely French pieces to work with ahead of the Fairs I will be going to during the Autumn & run up to Christmas.

Some of the solid silver pieces I've found
Some of the solid silver pieces I’ve found

 

I am really fond of the vintage crystal chandelier lustres, locally known as pampilles, that are sometimes found in dusty old boxes, or even (on occasions) old plastic cups on stalls. They are often grimy, but even under a heavy layer of dust they catch the light beautifully and I can see that with a bit of work they could become pretty and unusual pieces of jewellery.

I can never walk past a box of 'pampilles'
I can never walk past a box of ‘pampilles’

 

I can spend ages working my way through the boxes to find the smaller, unusual and undamaged pieces, which work well as simple earrings, or can be wired together with polished natural stones to make necklaces, or bracelets – and this Summer I have managed to find some particularly lovely pieces.

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I have also found a stunning antique Mother of Pearl necklace, which is formed from flower-shaped beads and these have already become pendants and earrings, with 3 pieces already having been snapped up – one going off with my new neighbour who has just moved to Paris and 2 other pieces to a friend here, who wanted something different for a friend’s birthday.

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Of course I’ve also been hunting for solid silver French spoons to make into more substantial pieces. The handles on French spoons and the detail in general is superb and I love working with the old pieces when I find them and I have certainly found some stunning spoons this year.

The detail on these handles is just stunning
The detail on these handles is just stunning

 

…….Not many, I have to admit, but I’m really pleased with the ones that have headed back to the workshop, especially the ‘shovel’ shaped salt spoons that have already become rings.

The 'shovel' salt-spoons, just soldered & still to be finished
The ‘shovel’ salt-spoons, just soldered & still to be finished

 

I have had a small set of tools here with me, so have managed to do some work whilst I have been here and I must admit I have become rather fond of the views from the workbench……

A workbench with a view
A workbench with a view

 

………or the table where I have been doing the silver wirework…….

A parasol is order of the day when doing the wire-work
A parasol is order of the day when doing the wire-work

 

So I have a few bits to bring back with me ahead of the Fairs that I will be going to this Autumn, starting with the Great British Country Event at the stunning Cothele on 24th & 25th September, http://www.missivy.co.uk/event-1 but also have some work to do before then to turn some of my other finds into wearable pieces.

So after 3 months my workshop heads back to Dartmoor next week & back into the Chapel in the middle of our village. I’m looking forward to seeing what emerges!

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