For dozens of years, the Port-au-Persil Pottery, being one of the oldest cultural institutions of Charlevoix, has played a major role in ceramics in Quebec The pottery is established on highway 138 at the entrance to the town of Saint-Simeon.
Its yellow barn is situated at the junction point of roads leading to the Saguenay region to the north, the whale-watching area and the North-Shore region to the east and the Gaspé and the Maritimes to the south by ferry-boat across the St. Lawrence River. Its location as well as its history make it an exceptional place to showcase Quebec’s best ceramists.
The pottery was founded by Pierre Legault (1929-1983), master potter, who had studied Arts and Crafts in Montreal. He met once the celebrated Japanese ceramist Shimaoka and discovered in himself a veritable passion for ceramics. In 1965, Mr. Legault started an enterprise called Compagnie Pierre Legault Inc. which will later be known as SIAL.
This factory produced material and equipment for the ceramics industry including the famous potter’s kicking-wheel which carries his name and which is used at the pottery today.
It is in Charlevoix that he will put the finishing touches on his techniques and continue his research on clay types and glazes. In 1974 Pierre Legault buys a farm in Port-au-Persil and moves in with his family. He installs his atelier in the barn of the firm. Here he builds a Japanese style kiln to fire with gas or wood.
Today, each summer the lighting of this kiln is an occasion for a celebratory event called “Éclat’s d’Argile» (Fragments of Clay, in French). More and more travellers stop to visit the pottery and its workshop turns out new talented potters who will become well-known in Quebec. After M. Legault had gone, his family continued operating the enterprise until its sale in 1992 to the present owner Hélène Garon who pursues the founder’s oeuvre.
Today, the pottery offers: a gallery-boutique, a workshop-school, a café and terrace, a guided-tour service for all of Charlevoix and the promise of a unique and rewarding cultural experience.
To visit the pottery:
Route 138 Saint-Siméon,
Phone : 418-638-2349
4, chemin des Quatre-Vents Saint-Irénée, Québec, Canada
Web Site of the Port-au-Persil Pottery: www.poteriedeportaupersil.com