Santons Marcel Carbonel 


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The birth of a clay model

    The art of the Santon craftsman is popular. It is an art that is simple, sincere and authentic in its inspiration, rudimentary in its technique to allow the full richness of the imagination to be expressed. The Santon craftsman is skilful, observant, creative and inspired. From clay and hands, then from a brush, reality emerges to meet up with myth, and thus a Santon is born, set in the attitude that distinguishes it and makes it worthy of joining the little people of Provençal mythology. Poetry then gushes forth from inspiration. It is fed by thousands of details both observed and remembered. A long period of observation which slowly imprints this moment, this glance, this gesture, and the harmony of fabrics into the memory of the Santon craftsman. A continuous search, in the manner of improvising poets whose expert wanderings made it possible to capture, in images and in rhymes, the life of people who have thus entered into legend.

Stamping & moulding

    Then comes the reproduction stage using plaster moulds, as it has been practised since the birth of the Santon craftsman's art. Stamping consists of applying clay in the mould. Like all the stages in the manufacture of the Santon, it is done manually. Then comes the pressing of clay between the two parts of the mould.


    Gestures from the beginning of time, which link the artist to the craftsman. Slow, delicate, simple gestures, so close to the image they want to create. The subject is refined, takes life... By using his tool, the moulder carefully eliminates any trace of the joint (known as a "seam") from the two parts of the mould. It is here that he will improve a hollow, will add the handle of a basket or the drumstick of a tambourine player before the firing of the part, which will be preceded by a period of necessary drying.


    It prolongs and concluded this patient work.
    The cooking lasts 24 hours. One time of preheating so that the water evaporates completely, a brief passage in 980 ° then a slow cooling until we can take out the pieces of the oven without that they burst (and without burning!)..


the raw material

Arising from the richness of imagination and tradition, these little people are born from clay that can be kneaded and modelled as one wishes. A simple yet essential ingredient: a direct link between the artist-poet and the earth from which he springs. All the Santons in our range are made out of clay.

When clay comes alive

Under the bright sunlight, Provence displays its colours: red, ochre and yellow. The Bible tells that God kneads man in this clay. Provence tells the story of the Santon craftsman kneading the Santon in the very same earth still full of sun and water. And the entire art of the Santon craftsman lies in an expression, a gesture, an offering, a trade, colours – bright and unique-, a style consisting of sincerity and authentic naivety. The multitude of Santons is varied, centred on the characters of the evangelic tradition, and only lesser tradesmen and little people of the street, all of them carriers of offerings, have the right to citizenship.

The totality of our production arises from our workshop in Marseilles, in Provence.