1944 - Four friends leave Paris and the atmosphere of St Germain-des-Près to escape from obligatory work in Germany. They came to the professional college of ceramics in Cluny (Saône et Loire) where Alexandre KOSTANDA teaches them the art of Pottery. They started with making ceramic buttons for their own use. At the end of the year 1945, Christian DIOR creates his “maison de couture” he contacts André BOUTAUD and his friends asking them to make buttons for his new collection along with brooches and pieces of jewellery. The four young apprentices made around 300 pieces. It could have been a “once off” order if the fashion magazines hadn’t published Christian DIOR’S new collection. After the war “ceramic buttons” become very much a fashion item. As success comes, they decide to found a community and they settle on the 26th of October 1945 in an old unused factory in the Village of Accolay in the Yonne department of Burgundy. In the year 1946, more than 3000 ceramic buttons and jewellery were leaving this factory, multicoloured and extraordinary pieces, In allsorts of different shapes, animal, vegetal, gold tinted…etc.
In 1948 fashion was changing and they started making useful ceramics, decorative ornamental pieces, photo frames, fruit baskets and small ceramic sculptures. In 1952 a Canadian designer became a member of the group. That was the beginning of very humoristic pieces from the Accolay potters. A large part of the population of the village of Accolay, would work in the studios, and in the sales department. Service stations on the road to the South of France that were selling their ceramics were becoming more & more numerous especially on the N6 & the N7. They continued their success well into the 70’s, up until the petrol crisis & also the fact that these roads were less & less frequented. This was the period where one saw the appearance of ceramics incrusted with resin, lamps, tables that lit up… André BOUTAUD died in 1983, continuation was not so easy and production ended in 1989.
The adventures of these four young students who became “The Accolay potters” deserve to be remembered for their huge success and the wonderful memories of their 30 glorious years 1945-1975.