Port-au-Persil Pottery's history begins over forty years
ago, by Pierre and Evelyne Legault's 1974 acquisition of
the Belley's farm in Port-au-Persil. The couple had met
many years before that and had nurtured the dream of
putting down roots in a bucolic village. At the time,
Pierre graduated from the reputed "École du meuble" (wellknown
arts and crafts school) where he learned the basics of
the ceramist profession. However, he concentrated his
work in construction to ensure his family's subsistence.
In North Hatley, he met Shimaoka, a ceramist who was
later considered a national treasure in Japan. This
meeting not only brought back Pierre's true passion,
ceramics, but elevated him as a glaze specialist. His
arrival in Charlevoix furthered his glaze researches by
incorporating elements from nature, such as minerals and
plants he found in the bay of Port-au-Persil. His
charlevoix glazes made his fame.
Already in 1965,
he had established his reputation by creating the
"Compagnie Pierre Legault Inc.", which later became
SIAL, the top company in Quebec for clays and ceramics'
equipment. With his brother, Pierre manufactured his
famous foot-propelled pottery wheel, then called "Tour
Legault" and distributed in all the Quebec schools and
is still being used today at the Port-au-Persil Pottery.
In 1983, at the young age of 54, Pierre Legault died
quite suddenly. The Legault family pursued his legacy.
In 1992, the
actual owner, Montreal-native Hélène Garon, made
Charlevoix her homestead and continues this tradition. Graduated
in political science, she will be influenced by her worl-travelling
grand-parents who also collected fine arts and art-trade
objects. Upon returning from a trip to Japan in 1956,
that brought back very fine pottery items. Hélène was
immediatly enchanted abd touched by their beauty. This
shared link with Japan by her grand-parents and the
founder of the Port-au-Persil Pottery, became a pivotal
point for Hélène. Her education and strong
desire to do politics in other ways, will instigate her
to invest in the safeguard of this architectual heritage
as well as the development of this cultural jewel which
has become one of the oldest ceramic institutions in
the Port-au-Persil Pottery's real soul is it's school-workshop.
Pierre Legault tutored many famed ceramists who still
work their art today and expose them in the boutique-gallery.
Today, not only does the workshop produce it's own
crockery but is open to all. They greet, every summer, a
local and tourist clientele, looking to create their own
pieces of ceramic art. Since 2009, Bertrand Dion, with
his live spirit and contagious energy, ensures the
supervision and animation of the workshop. Along with
professional ceramists and a good deal of humor,
Bertrand entertains the "students" with his natural
story-telling talents, his manual dexterity and of
course, his passion for Charlevoix. For those who put
their hands to the clay either on the kicking wheel or
hand-modeling, will surely live an experience to
remember and take away happy memories of their visit at
the Port-au-Persil Pottery.