Discovering the Artisans

in Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne
Reliure d'art - Atelier In Quartoartisan d'art a Chatillon sur Chalaronne

Passionate about art and craftsmanship, I had heard a lot about the town of Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne and its many artisans. My decision was made; I set off to discover this town of art and crafts.

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Nathalie tells

Restoring an Old Book

My first stop takes me to the Atelier InQuarto, a bookbinding workshop. It is located on a small old street with half-timbered houses, bricks, and pebbles, and the workshop itself is in an old house.
Upon entering, I plunge into an atmosphere of mystery and secrets: old wooden presses, bronze tools with enigmatic patterns, marbled papers, and brightly colored leathers. The artisan works by hand, both for sewing the pages, restoring paper tears, and for gilding.
But her work goes beyond simply replacing the cover: many clients want an exceptional cover for their treasures, requiring all the artisan’s creativity. A carp leather binding for a recipe book? Rusty iron and red stones to mimic Camus’ Plague? With a bit of imagination and some time, your book will become a unique object. It’s decided! I will come back to have my grandmother’s storybook restored.

Fascinated by the Art of Stained Glass

My path then takes me to L’Art du Vitrail, the workshop of the 2016 best craftsman.
This young lady combines ancient techniques and modernity, her expertise even attracts architects from historic monuments. She has already created works for several castles and churches, and many individuals trust her. Her workshop is a blaze of colors, with light illuminating the space in a thousand hues. I take the time to observe the different stages of creating a stained glass window: the drawing, the model, and the assembly. The artisan explains that even if clients come with precise ideas, creativity plays a big part in her job. To take home a souvenir, you don’t need to buy an entire window: the workshop also creates glass jewelry: necklaces, pendants, and rings.

Giving New Life to My Jewelry

I return to Rue Commerson, I have an appointment with Emmanuelle Gadenne, a jewelry designer. Graduated in jewelry-making, she combines traditional practices with modernity. I brought a necklace from my mother that deserves to be refreshed.
Mrs. Gadenne takes the time to listen to what I imagine, then she makes suggestions. For this piece, no major changes, just cleaning, straightening twisted parts, but generally, the designer can completely reinvent your treasure.
She explains that what matters to her is a new perspective on the jewelry and its value, which is primarily the result of the artisan’s skill, not the raw material. She can realize the ideas of her clients or offer her own suggestions. I take a tour of her workshop and admire her old and traditional tools, no mass production here. I decide to continue my tour of the town, anyway the workshop is closing soon: a couple is coming for a wedding ring creation workshop. Indeed, Mrs. Gadenne offers jewelry creation workshops, even for people like me who have no knowledge of jewelry-making.

Visiting a Ceramist’s Workshop

I don’t have to go far, the next art workshop is right next door. It is Terre d’Ella, a ceramist’s workshoppottery. There are bowls and plates everywhere with a beautiful glittering glaze, as well as decorative objects. Indeed, the ceramist uses a glaze crystallization technique that gives this effect and makes each piece unique.
It is true that with its clayey soil, the Dombes is a favorite place for clay work, but in this workshop, we mainly find black stoneware and Asian clays, as well as porcelain of superior quality. I take the time to chat with the artisan and watch her work. One bowl in particular catches my eye: it has a blue pattern in the center that looks like a slice of blue lemon. I decide to buy it as a souvenir.

Going Further

The workshops I visited are part of an association of artisans named ARTIS. This includes, in addition to the named workshops, an upholsterer, a blacksmith, and other ceramic and pottery workshops. The association organizes every two years the Potters’ Market under the Halles and is present at other events.
My search for the treasures of Châtillon was successful. During a journey back in time, I discovered ancient techniques, traditional tools, modernity, and above all, a lot of creativity. The interactions with the artisans allowed me to better understand these diverse but little-known professions.

Why Should You Come ?

Discovering Exceptional Trades
Exciting Encounters
A Magnificent Town
We Tell You Everything

How to Experience This ?

Dombes Tourisme

Place du Champ de Foire 01400 Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne

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