AZAÏS Jean-Paul, ceramist

The Potter's Nail is a very fine clay object that was made by a sensitive and precise turning, then, after firming up, it was polished to perfection. After drying, it was engobed with a natural varnish of clay harvested in the local soil. The concept of the vertical nail comes from my previous work on the idea of vector and movement: the Triangulo mother mountain of clay, the Arrow and the Thorn; after a period of maturation, this Potter's Nail now tilted on a plane is a current realization of it. The simple inversion of the form initially created vertically shapes an unexpected structuring of the space, source of a new emotion.
A nail is a wonderful force that connects and authorizes the intelligence of the hand.

Jean-Paul Azaïs

The puddle lesson put me on the path to natural clay varnishes, but puddles can also seduce me by their beauty. Sometimes, they become a transitory living environment for insect larvae, unexpected drinking troughs for birds and small mammals, or cases for dead leaves turning into humus. Tiny lakes wrinkling at the slightest...

Jean-Paul Azaïs


Jean-Paul AZAÏS, born in 1952 in Perpignan, is a child of Aspre in northern Catalonia, deeply marked by his Catalan roots, in love with tradition and nature.

In 1971, he began a long apprenticeship as a self-taught ceramist. He studied geology, biology and after graduating as a pharmacist he started working as a ceramist in 1979.

For more than forty years, he has been experimenting with many personal techniques and improving the gestures of his trade. His ceramics are the fruit of long and ardent research, research which has led him to develop new techniques.

His works in ochre and smoke bear witness to his aspiration, his gaze and his own approach. The colors are born from his relationship with the earth and from firing on wood fire.

He is very well known in the world of contemporary French ceramics, has been awarded numerous prizes and exhibits in galleries and museums in France and abroad.

In his workshop Terres d'Aspre he has revisited all the ancient ceramics and created works with simple shapes that celebrate puddle and smoke, pieces of clay and light mixing tradition and modernity.

Thanks to the scientific study of a muddy puddle, he explains the principle of a natural clay glaze close to that of the Gallo-Roman sigillas.

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Jean-Paul Azaïs' work

The shape of the jar is universal, the assimilation of the softness and purity of the profiles found in the last Spanish potters allowed me to stretch and refine the bases of my jars. Then, as this new practice led to spatialize the volume, I applied it to all my other pieces. The stay in Greece influenced the upper part of my forms. In the image of the human body, the shoulders of the jars became flatter and flatter and curved harmoniously in the manner of the ancient vases with the ideal proportions of Amasis and Exekias. I have constantly used this "amphorized and Mediterranean-charged" morphology to develop a universe of more or less closed volumes, hesitating between numerous typologies of vases with barely suggested necks, variably rolled up, or flattened cordiform aryballes. The Jars were then covered with a small stopper, a convex lid. Then, after the shape of the Triangulo appeared, I naturally closed them with a small raised cone.

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