The final Scourtinerie in France – conventional mats of Provence | EUROtoday

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Traditional mat making in Provence

In Nyons, within the Drome division, south of France, you may witness a timeless Provençal custom, the traditional craft of weaving 'scourtins' – spherical filter mats which might be comprised of pure coconut fibers. Jeremy Flint visits a workshop the place the previous mat-making customs are treasured.

Walking into the Scourtinerie workshop on the banks of the river Eygues, I felt as if I stepped again in time. The sight of age-old equipment and the rattling of metal spindles ringing loudly was mesmerizing as coloured material spun in a frenzied state, turning into more and more entangled because the threads took form, weaving the weft to create circles.

Coconut fibers dyed to make traditional mats in Provence

The Fert household established La Scourtinerie in 1882 to make conventional scourtins, a round filter that's used for filtration within the extraction of olive oil and wine from presses. They already owned a profitable woolen weaving agency, and after developing with the thought to make scourtins, Ferdinand Fert invented and patented the primary round weaving machine in 1892. It was an unimaginable feat of engineering. He additionally launched coconut fibers into French weaving. Such is the power and high quality of the fibers, they’ve been utilized by generations of Fert household scourtin makers for the final 140 years.

Business was good till the ravaging frosts of 1956 destroyed the olive bushes. Orders for scourtins decreased drastically, and for some time the corporate seemed prefer it must shut. But when the household realized that individuals used the previous scourtins for doormats, George and Alain Fert, Ferdinand's son and grandson who clearly inherited his reward for innovation, had the genius concept to remodel scourtins into mats.

Ancient machinery used to make traditional mats in Provence

As competitor companies closed through the years, the corporate turned the final Scourtinerie in France. Today, they nonetheless make conventional scourtins used as filters for olive oil, cider, fruit and wine presses, they usually additionally make ornamental scourtins used as desk mats, place mats, door mats, carpets and rugs. This diversified product vary is out there in 25 totally different colours and plenty of sizes, and also you received't discover something like these distinctive artisanal items made anyplace else in France.

Now Sophie Villeneuve-Fert, the founder's great-great granddaughter, the fifth technology of the household to weave scourtins, is making certain the continuity of this fascinating craft, while persevering with the corporate's unimaginable legacy.

Colorful mats made by hand in Provence

Sophie is captivated with her position on this household enterprise. “The craft of La Scourtinerie allows me to have direct interactions with our customers, and I find great joy in the creativity involved in our products” she says. “It feels incredibly authentic and I take immense pride in our family's legacy. La Scourtinerie has been in existence for 140 years, and I am determined to carry it forward with me and future generations”.

Making scourtins, traditional mats for olive oil presses, in Provence

She explains how the method of constructing scourtins entails a number of steps. The Coconut fiber is imported primarily from India within the type of hanks of yarn, and is the first materials used to make scourtins. It's dyed (if required) after which wound onto bobbins, that are fed into the scourtin-making machines. Next, needles are positioned within the mould of the scourtin-making machine which act as guides for the weaving course of.

Scourtins being made on a huge spindle

In the workshop, 4 scourtiniers weave and hand-finish the scourtins, that are shipped all around the world. The agency continues to innovate, as an example introducing eco-friendly pure dyes, rising the product vary and collaborating with corporations like Parfumeries Fragonard, to mix the artistry and uniqueness of scourtins which has seen the corporate obtain a “Living Heritage Company” award in recognition of the distinctive expertise of the weavers.

Visit will be organized upfront at scourtinerie.comJeremy Flint is an award-winning skilled photographer and author specializing in journey, panorama and placement pictures. His work is printed extensively in The Good Life France Magazine, National Geographic Traveler Lonely Planet and Country Life amongst others. He is a five-time finalist in Travel Photographer of the Year, Association of Photographers Discovery Award Winner and National Geographic Traveler Grand Prize Winner.

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The last Scourtinerie in France – traditional mats of Provence