Throughout the years, we’ve been on the hunt for the perfect handmade ceramics to share at the Mercantile. Sourcing handmade pottery that represents the Boxwood ethos proved to be more of a challenge than first anticipated. That was, until we ventured across the Atlantic and found ourselves in the French countryside. Of course, *this* is where we’d find the perfect ceramics to share with you. Let me tell you the story…
A windy road through the golden hills of Provence found us lost in reverie. It’s funny how a simple turn down an unmarked, unpaved road always seems to lead to the most beautiful moments in our lives.
We came to a clearing in the trees that revealed a quaint French home nestled within billowy beds of wild flowers, low hanging branches, and ivy that clearly had plans of its own. A gravel path lined with weathered terracotta planters lead us to a poetic shed surrounded with wise greenery.
Just when we thought these moments couldn’t get any more surreal, they did just that when we stepped inside.
Shelves stacked artfully like the last half of a Jenga game with platters, plates, and bowls. Baskets filled to the brim with ornamental treasures, and walls adorned with decorative pieces greeted us as we found ourselves in a precarious situation. Navigating the mountains of delicate handmade ceramics, as it turns out, is no easy feat!
About the Handmade Ceramics
If we didn’t have the help of our local guide, Melanie, we would have never known that such a treasured place existed – it was one of those “if you know, you know” moments. We learned that the talented ceramicist, Monique Montgaillard, started her career as a teacher and eventually found her love and talent for handmade ceramics, thus creating Rêves D’argile.
Inspired by vintage pieces in the old “brocantes”, French flea markets, she creates her handmade ceramics molded from, or stamped with design elements from her found treasures. A vintage madeleine mold created one of our favorite pieces we brought back, and even the bottom of a pumpkin formed a dish we’d love to use at a dinner party.
Her signature white glaze creates a charm that cannot be replicated and reminds us of the luxury of simplicity. Each piece is unassumingly intricate and a true depiction of what defines an artisan and craftswoman.
Monique’s essence comes through her beautiful ceramics, which to me is a symbol of true art. Each ceramic piece if not simply an object, but a representation of true creation. A piece of her heart shared with the world.
For those of us that appreciate interiors and old-world living, I must also share a brief description of her incredible home. A dream home of sorts. As mentioned earlier, the French cottage tucked away in the winding roads of Provence is hugged by billowing wildflowers and adorned with ceramic whimsy.
I jumped at the chance of going into her home, where I discovered a true French kitchen with original cupboards, a wooden island, and coziness oozing from every corner. I could nearly hear the stories held within the walls. It was all I could do to resist curling up with a cup of tea and staying for a bit. Peeling myself away, we curated our collection of treasures to bring home with us.
I wanted to bring back pieces that truly embodied the feeling of Provence. We have put together a small collection of handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces that will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring you this magical corner of France to the Mercantile.
I am thrilled to share this lovely collection with you, and of course plan to bring back more the next time we visit Provence. I will be visiting this May after a stop in Florence for our Boxwood Abroad retreat! If you’d like to join us in Provence to experience our favorite artisans and antique shopping, we will be launching tickets for our 2024 Provence retreat very soon, you can sign up for first access to tickets!