More feedback from visitors/students
- September 2022. I had the most wonderful and magical time throwing pottery with Sylph at her fairytale farmhouse in the French countryside.
I came with my friend, Gina, in the Fall of 2022. Gina is an intermediate potter. I am a beginner. Not only is Sylph incredibly knowledgeable about ceramics in all forms, she was also terrific at tailoring this experience to me and Gina. In addition, Sylph is a patient instructor and very generous with her time. She was with us at least 12 hours a day, every day, thoughtfully answering any and every question we had.
The 17th century mill we stayed at was very charming. We had hot chocolate croissants for breakfast and fresh eggs from her hens. Sylph cooked lovely dinners for us every night and also booked us lunches at French restaurants that ran the gamut from casual country bistros to fancier old chateauxs with unbelievable views. We loved every meal.
Sylph helped take my throwing to new heights. Literally. I threw 2 lbs of clay which was more than I had ever done before and made a berry bowl which I am very, very happy with. Sylph’s attention to detail and her fine finishing processes will forever stay with me and Gina and inform the ceramics we make from here on out.
Our time with Sylph has reinvigorated our creativity, fed our souls, and left us hungry for more pottery.
She is a dynamic woman and my time at her mill was truly a dream. I will stay in touch!
Jennifer Koman, San Francisco, USA
Jenn has also produced two videos of her stay with Sylph. See them HERE
- September 2022. What a lovely retreat. I’d long dreamed of having an opportunity to do a residential pottery class and had discovered Sylph online through my research.
I have been looking forward to this trip for the last several years, as we’d had to delay our visit due to COVID. I haven’t been throwing for very long before COVID struck; and had a long hiatus during the lockdown. I was able to quickly recapture the basics – and then progress even faster – thanks to Sylph’s instruction. I had hoped to learn to center larger lumps of clay, to make bigger bowls and also lids, spouts, and plan and create consistent/matched sets. I learned all of this and more…
Sylph has incredible attention to detail and helped me train my hands and my eyes to create much finer pots with a more professional finish. I’m absolutely thrilled with what I learned and my final wares as well. If you’re so inclined Sylph will also work with you to mix and create your own glazes and understand more about the firing process. I’m heading home so inspired and ready to take my pots to the next level.
Outside of the studio, Sylph also offers a fantastic experience. She’s a warm and gracious hostess. The mill is a gorgeous old building and the gite is a cozy and comfortable home to relax in each evening. The midday meals were thoughtfully chosen, we visited five different local restaurants, allowing us to see a lot of the surrounding countryside. We also met some other potter friends and visited their studio as well as a local nut mill, market and shops. Dinners at Sylph’s table are beautifully prepared with local produce (much of it from her garden) and there’s great conversation and an opportunity to read from her pottery library or watch videos together. In all, a beautiful holiday in the French countryside which stimulated my creativity, nourished my soul and fed all of my senses. Highly recommended.
Thank you Sylph!
Gina Pelucca, New Orleans, USA
- April 2022. We just had the pleasure of attending a week-long pottery course with Sylph Baier.
We just had the pleasure of attending a week-long pottery course with Sylph Baier. Sylph is a wonderful creative teacher who was very open to what we wanted to do and learn. She goes above and beyond in terms of service not only with the pottery but the accommodation, food and transport. Her place is so relaxing with wonderful birds, wildlife and her pet dog, cat, chickens and sheep. There are lovely walks in the valley and forest, if you can pull yourself away from the pottery that is. All in all this was one of our best and most creative holidays ever and the memories will be relived daily as we use our mugs and bowls produced during our blissful weeks work.
Sylph is an amazing instructor who is flexible to cater for what the student wants to achieve. We had completed a pottery throwing course prior to our visit which really got us off to a great start. Sylph took us through every stage of the process from clay preparation to final glazing and firing. We even got to make our own glaze. Her enthusiasm for pottery is infectious and many evenings after dinner we sat watching videos and looking at her excellent collection of ceramics books for inspiration. The creative freedom she allowed us to have really made the holiday. I got to indulge in many decorative techniques whereas my husband could indulge more in the technical and functional design he loves. I think for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in pottery, this is the ultimate paradise. The fact that we got to bring home our pottery means we will be reminded daily of the holiday as we use our mugs, bowls colander etc. of our wonderful holiday. What more could you want.
The accommodation in the gite is fabulous. Sylph had everything laid on. Tea (regular, herbal), coffee, fruit, a selection of juices, milk and fresh bread, croissants, etc. Everything you need for the week-long course is there from the TV with all the channels to hairdryer towels, etc. Numerous mornings Sylph delivered freshly baked bread presented in one of her many baskets. The gite is decorated with many pieces of beautiful ceramics, paintings and sculpture. The firewood is piled up at the fireside and there was nothing nicer that sitting down by a big fire at the end of a fun filled creative day.
The stairs are quite steep up to the bedrooms which could be an issue for some but the ensuite bedrooms are beautifully decorated and most importantly the bed is really comfy.
Outside there are numerous areas to sit and chill in the sun, not only outside the gite but around the 4-acre site, by the river, in the woods etc. We really enjoyed our stay.
The pottery week-long course includes all your meals including wine. Breakfast (bread, cereals, fresh eggs from Sylphs chickens, yoghurt, fruit juice, croissants, etc) is provided in the gite and you just help yourself. Sylph took us to a different local restaurant each day to sample the 3 course Plat du Jour and local Bordeaux wines.
In the evening she cooked amazing wholefood meals, salads, pasta, risotto with many of the ingredients coming from her organic garden. Desserts were to die for and included many of Sylphs own recipes for semolina cake, tarts etc. Each meal was prefaced with a different local aperitif, and wine during the meal.
If all the above was not enough there was also a tea/coffee break mid-morning and afternoon and a cool refreshing G&T at the end of the working day by the table outside the studio.
- October 2021. Sylph is an amazing teacher, who motivates to find your own way with the clay and grow in independence and consciousness on the wheel. I had a lovely time during classes and enjoyed the company, good talks and amazing food. I can only recommend a stay at the mill.
I stayed with Sylph at the mill for a week during my pottery course. I did not have much experience before I arrived, but during the week I learned to understand and manage techniques both in throwing, trimming and glazing. Sylph is an amazing teacher, who motivates to find your own way with the clay and grow in independence and consciousness on the wheel. I had a lovely time during classes and enjoyed the company, good talks and amazing food. I can only recommend a stay at the mill.
And in Danish!
Jeg havde ikke meget erfaring, inden jeg tog på en uges keramikkursus hos Sylph. Men efter mit ophold mestrer jeg nu teknikker både i drejning, trimning og glasering. Jeg havde ikke forventet at lære så meget på så kort tid. Sylph er en dygtig underviser, som guider til større forståelse af arbejdet med ler, så man opnår større selvstændighed og så jeg nu er i stand til at fortsætte med at lave keramik på egen hånd. Derudover nød jeg selskabet, gode snakke og fantastisk mad. Jeg kan kun anbefale et ophold hos Sylph.
Once again, thank you for a lovely stay!
All the best
- September 2021. Well what an amazing week! Thank you to Sylph for your care and attention, thank you for the delicious home-grown food, and mostly thank you for the teaching and the inspiration that allowed me to make beautiful pots!
Well what an amazing week! Thank you to Sylph for your care and attention, thank you for the delicious home-grown food, and mostly thank you for the teaching and the inspiration that allowed me to make beautiful pots!
The week was packed full of pottery – every stage was taught and explained in a patient and passionate way. My skills and confidence have grown hugely and I am so pleased with the mugs, tea bowls and lampshade I am taking home and know I will treasure them. Sylph’s attention to detail means that the things you make are beautiful (or at least I think so!).
However the week is about more than pots. I stayed in a beautiful French old Mill. Sylph and the people who stay and help her (thank you Lana!), grow and cook delicious food – amazing three course lunch often straight from the garden, all the French cheese you can eat, organic wines, home made pizza, brioche… It was fab to be part of this world for a week.
I want to encourage anyone reading this to go for it and book! I was unsure before booking but am so glad I did. I had an inspirational week that has left me rejuvenated, full of delicious food and excited to continue with my making in the UK.
- October 2019. The setting is magical – a 17th century mill in the Dordogne, sheep, streams, forests and plenty of hikes.
The setting is magical- a 17th century mill in the Dordogne, sheep, streams, forests and plenty of hikes. The gite is huge and comfortably and tastefully furnished, the board is generous and well prepared, interspersed with visits to local restaurants. The studio space is professional and ideal for 2-3 students working. Sylph is a hard working, experienced and committed potter who devotes much energy and thought to the development of her students. She is an excellent teacher, balancing carefully humour, gentleness and strong guidance. Highly recommended
Bern and Jaap
- October 2019. I went to Sylph to improve my throwing skills as I was off to study for an MA in creative practice.
I went to Sylph to improve my throwing skills as I was off to study for an MA in creative practice this autumn. She was brilliant, a born teacher. She was very good at finding out what I needed to learn and explain it. I came away so much better prepared for college.
Then there was the fun – she has a good sense of humour. Oh, the food! It was lovely and she was coping with both a celiac and an allergy to dairy so that was amazing feat. The accommodation was beautiful and peaceful. Altogether a holiday that was both useful to my life and good for the soul.
- September 2019. My friend and I, both complete novices regarding pottery, spent a wonderful week with Sylph in her lovely home.
My friend and I, both complete novices regarding pottery, spent a wonderful week with Sylph in her lovely home. We found her to be knowledgeable; informative; passionate about her subject; encouraging; patient with us; and we were amazed at our results at the end of a week. We both took home some lovely, and useful, pieces in both clay and porcelain – and our friends and families are really surprised at what we have achieved! (as are we!!). She showed us interesting, and relevant films, each evening after dinner.
Our separate accommodation, next door to the main house, was superb and very comfortable. Our personal kitchen was well stocked with equipment, should we wish to cook. She ensured we had fresh bread, eggs, butter, milk etc. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble.
The bedrooms were tastefully and comfortably decorated. The comfy beds had clean, crisp bedlinen and the towels were a good size and lovely and fluffy!
Whilst we were engrossed in pottery classes all day, she ensured that she took us out each lunchtime to local restaurants, thereby giving us a real “taste” of the area in which she lives. Each evening she cooked a lovely meal, complete with local wine, and she was very attentive to our dietary requirements. I don’t know where she gets her energy from – she seems to work non-stop!
We would recommend her beautiful accommodation if you are looking for a great base from which to explore the surrounding area. If you are so interested, her pottery course for beginners was both absorbing and challenging and we had a fantastic week. Just what we both needed!
Thank you Sylph!
Kathryn Hanks and Debbie Smith
- June 2019. I spent a memorable week with Sylph at her beautiful mill in the Dordogne.
I spent a memorable week with Sylph at her beautiful mill in the Dordogne. She is a brilliant teacher and I felt very fortunate to be able to draw on her huge knowledge and experience of ceramics. But just as important is the passion she has for her craft, which infused her teaching and was thoroughly infectious. I returned home feeling inspired and itching to put my greatly improved throwing skills into practice.
Sylph is a wonderful host and, on top of the tuition, I enjoyed trying the different menus at local restaurants, playing backgammon in the evening and getting to know her dog, cats … and sheep. Le Moulin is in an idyllic spot and I enjoyed running in the beautiful countryside after a hard day’s throwing. The accommodation for guests is charming, comfortable and clean.
I recommend the course to anyone looking to take a big step forward with their pottery far away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
- May 2019. My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful week with Sylph at Le Moulin…
My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful week with Sylph at Le Moulin. I did the intensive throwing course and my husband, on a full board basis, spent the week painting in the beautiful surrounds of the gite.
Sylph is an excellent teacher. I have some basic throwing ability but as a result of the course my throwing has moved onto another level. During the week I threw 3 jugs of different sizes and 8 tea bowls in porcelain(which I hadn’t used before) and they were glazed and fired. I also threw some stoneware to double the size I had been able to hitherto.
Sylph explains things very clearly and patiently, she is very generous with her knowledge and I now feel much more confident and am looking forward to throwing at home with my new skill level.
We ate very well. Sylph prepared a breakfast hamper for us with lovely bread etc. She took us to lunch at a number of local restaurants and cooked a delicious dinner for us in the evening.
The accommodation was excellent and very comfortable. We slept so well. We appreciated the large living/dining area with a fully equipped kitchen, as well as the lovely private courtyard area and beautiful grounds.
In our spare time we were able to experience the glorious countryside. I can highly recommend the course and hope to return to further improve my skills in this wonderful setting.
Thank you Sylph!
Ali and John
- What a brilliant week. As a first year BA mature student in Design Crafts (Ceramics) at the…
What a brilliant week. As a first year BA mature student in Design Crafts (Ceramics) at the University of Hertfordshire, I wanted to extend my practice of throwing with a professional and saw Sylph’s advert for summer courses in Ceramic Review. She’s found a great way to provide a wonderful creative environment in rural France to pass on her incredible knowledge of functional ceramics and history of the craft.
My techniques have improved so much in a week, I can’t wait to get back to University to try them out. She tailors her teaching to your own level or designs and encourages the sort of discipline and finish required by the CPA (Craft Potters Association)! In addition, she’s a lovely warm person to spend the week with and the accommodation and food are amazing – every day is a new experience.
I’d thoroughly recommend her courses to anyone who wants to immerse themselves and feel very privileged to have spent this time with her and my fellow student, Josie.
Mandy English, June 2018.
- I have just spent a delightful week with Sylph, improving my throwing skills in her studio…
I have just spent a delightful week with Sylph, improving my throwing skills in her studio. This was the purpose of my visit.
However, I return to England not only with new throwing techniques and a renewed confidence with porcelain but also with wonderful food recipes.
I have been truly looked after in every respect in her lovely home.
Thank you so much Sylph, you are an inspiration.
Josie Cuming 20th May 2017
- Well, I started off with a list of things to achieve and managed to tick them all off as the week progressed. The tuition was excellent throughout, striking just the right balance.
Well, I started off with a list of things to achieve and managed to tick them all off as the week progressed. The tuition was excellent throughout, striking just the right balance.
I know now, to think before I pot and constantly strive for quality.
But the week has been about much more than ceramics – gorgeous house and setting, fantastic food, excellent company and of course, my host, brimming with ideas and inspiration.
Thanks Sylph for a most enjoyable week
Richard Atkinson 20th May 2017
- I recently had the treat of spending a week with Sylph Baier in France at her new residential workshop…
I thoroughly enjoyed receiving very individual tuition to improve my skills on the pottery wheel. Her attentive and sensitive style of teaching and her wealth of experience and skills allowed me to learn more about my own strengths and weaknesses and become more confident. Sylph’s tuition includes understanding better the whole natural cycle of pottery, from the origin of clay to what happens in the firing and glazing process to increasing awareness of one’s own body when working with the clay on the wheel. This has been enormously helpful and inspiring and it becomes a very wholesome and fulfilling experience.
I am sure this new venue will develop in the most beautiful way as Sylph’s vision for her project is breathtaking as is the beauty of the old mill and it’s natural surroundings. Best of luck! I will surely come back and will recommend it.
Christiane from Germany
- Thanks again for having us at your place … it’s beautiful and inspiring and we have enjoyed every minute! James and Emily from the UK