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Les Ateliers Charlevoix: Artisan Devotion

In the heart of the Charlevoix mountains, Stéphane Bouchard carefully handcrafts a variety of pottery pieces for the kitchen. Among his works, the elegant Utensil Holder / Wine Coolerspecially designed for Maison Orphée.

We spoke with this local craftsman to find out how he became an outstanding potter. We also got to learn more about the history of the Ateliers Charlevoix, which is now a must of the region's Route des métiers d'artas well as the creative process behind his work.



Originally from Saint-Irénée, Stéphane grew up in the village where he now runs his workshop. Having always loved the arts, he found, at the age of fifteen, a summer job in a local pottery, Atelier DeBlois, where he began by mowing the lawn and taking care of the flowers.

Over time, one of the two owners, an experienced potter, took him under her wing and shows him the secrets of her trade. On the verge of discovering a real passion, Stéphane studied ardently, over the summers, the art of the wheel. A difficult learning, according to him, but above all, satisfying.

When the owners retired, Stéphane was faced with the difficult choice of taking over the reins of the business or turning to other things. After two years of exploring other opportunities, he finally took over from his two mentors and became the new owner of the workshop, renamed Ateliers Charlevoix.



Today, Stéphane is a remarkable potter. In his workshop, he makes more than 125 products  available in seven to eight different colorsall unique pieces despite the constancy of the designs. Since he is passionate about cooking, he is surrounded by chef friends who inspire his work. Indeed, from the salt cellar to the poké bowl, Stéphane's creations are in line with culinary trends.

At Ateliers Charlevoix, you can also find the creations of his wife, Nancy Giguère. Passionate designer, she crafts jewelry and textile artwork under the brand Signature N. A veritable paradise of craftsmanship, the workshop also presents recent paintings by Mr. Marc DeBlois, former owner and accomplished artist.



Stephane follows many steps to craft his pottery pieces. With a process that can last up to two weeks, each of his creations is the result of careful handwork: "What's incredible is to start turning a lump of clay into a functional, aesthetic and highly desirable object", explains the entrepreneur. 

The first step is the shaping of the clay, which is done on the power wheel. Using a turning tool, he also carves the piece depending on his inspiration. He then proceeds to the drying stage, which generally lasts 4 to 5 days. Then comes the polishing with a sponge. The goal: the removal of any remaining imperfections.

The next step is the first firing, during which the piece is placed in a kiln under a temperature of 1,950 F. Once the firing is complete, Stephane proceeds with the glazing to add some color to the piece and make its surface glassy.

Finally, comes the second and final firing stage. For twelve to fifteen hours, the piece is fired in a second, larger kiln, at temperatures up to 2,300 F. Once the firing is complete, a brand new piece of pottery ready to embellish a kitchen comes out.

Each year, Stéphane uses more than 10 tons of clay to make his pottery pieces. From the beginning of May to the end of October, he is busy seven days a week. The biggest challenge according to him? Producing the same piece over and over again.



A technique that Stéphane practices in parallel with utilitarian pottery, Raku is a traditional Japanese firing method that he describes as being more "emotional". The reason why he likes it so much? The fact that it creates amazing and unique results that remain completely unknown until the end of the process.

For pieces with special designs that will turn heads, look for ones made using the Raku technique next time you visit Ateliers Charlevoix. 


We're proud to have collaborated with this inspiring local artisan and to showcase his work. We thank him for his time and for the exclusive work he created for us.

To purchase the Utensil Holder/Wine Cooler available in limited quantities, visit the product page.

To learn more about the Ateliers Charlevoix and the creations available, visit the website.

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