Hove Museum and Art Gallery
Stoke on Trent City Museum
CPA News No 140
Nov/Dec 2011 issue
Nov/Dec 2010 (Launch issue )
Ceramic Review Magazine
A Potter's Open House
July/Aug 2008 (Issue 232)
Ceramic Review Magazine
A Potters Day
Nov/Dec 1994 (Issue 150)
The Ceramics Book, 2nd edition,
Ceramic Review Publishing Ltd.
Sylph Baier lives in a 17th century mill in the Dordogne, France, where she runs residential pottery courses and also offers:
"The charm of the Dordogne is indisputable. Sylph Baier is one of many who have succumbed to the sublime summers, exquisite mediaeval towns, extensive woodlands and ancient human history that distinguish this region of France. Sylph fell in love with the mellow atmosphere of a 17th century mill beside a pretty stream – and purchased it! Here, she lives and works from Le Moulin de Leymonie du Maupas, about a half-hour’s drive from historic Bergerac.
Sylph has more than 30 years of commercial experience in England, making beautifully-designed, functional ceramic vessels and kitchen utensils. She has created quirky dining crockery and kitchen ware such as her well-known ‘Storm in a Teacup’ range which was stocked by Liberty London for many years. Most recently, she has been working with Limoges porcelain and local stoneware clays and exploring new products that make the most of its fine, white, light qualities.
Since arriving in France in 2016, Sylph has worked largely on the restoration of her mill buildings and the planning of her permaculture garden, all while mothering one daughter, two cats, a dog, seven sheep and the annual summer influx of enthusiastic volunteer workers. The latter all pitch in and help with maintenance and gardening on the four-acre property in exchange for accommodation and Sylph’s home cooking, typically served up with wine and sparkling conversation around the dinner table each evening.
There are always projects underway at Le Moulin. The gîte, an accommodation unit attached to the mill building, was one of the first areas to be restored by Sylph. It has hosted happy travellers and holiday makers for the past couple of years to gratifying reviews. The internal spaces follow the old bones of the mill, retaining its character. They comprise a large living-dining-kitchen area and a quirky staircase winding up to two spacious en-suite bedrooms featuring ceiling beams of three-hundred-year-old wood from local forests. The downstairs living area opens out into a sunny courtyard with seating and lounging furniture. The mill building borders the eastern side of the courtyard and the old empty bakery, a future restoration project, runs along the opposite side.
Sylph has built her modern workshop in a section of the old barn to the south of the mill. In this space, she teaches her week-long residential pottery courses to students from England and all over the world, from Australia to the USA and New Zealand. Beginners and more advanced students are catered for in small classes of two or three people. Small classes give Sylph the flexibility to meet demands for learning about specific clay preparation, throwing, turning, glazing, and firing techniques.
Sylph’s shop is part of the bakery building and opens onto the courtyard. Visitors can appraise and purchase examples of her work on display here as well as works of other artisans. Guests staying on site in the gîte can request a viewing anytime of course, but non-resident visitors must either call to make a viewing appointment or turn up any Saturday afternoon between 1500 – 1700hrs over June, July or August. Sylph is on site to chat about her ceramic practice and will happily crank up a wheel to demonstrate her expert throwing technique. Visitors can purchase afternoon tea with homemade baking and relax on the wooden deck beside the mill stream to enjoy it. It is hard to imagine a more pleasant Saturday afternoon excursion."
Mandy & Grant Nelson, New Zealand, 2019.