Ceramics

Carouge, earth and fire: a long love story.

In the mid-18th century, when Carouge was just a hamlet of a few houses, there was already a certain number of pottery workshops installed on the moraine of Pinchat. But it was not until a few decades later that Carouge entered into the history of earthenware.

Baylon earthenware

In 1802, when the city was French, a war commissioner acquired premises and engaged a young man from Nyon, Abraham Baylon, a descendant of a family that had practised the craft for several generations. The Baylon faience manufacture, in operation from 1802 to 1879, made Carouge a crossroads which became a meeting place for workers from various origins who contributed to the manufacture the knowledge and experience acquired throughout their career.

Baylon and his workers produced pieces prettily adorned with garlands of flowers and painted landscapes or printed decors, scenes of Swiss history or views of Rome, on objects with sober forms. The production of his successors, between 1880 and 1933, took a different direction: the commemorative plate was then very much in fashion. Military, sports or literary clubs competed in the choice of subjects, and there wasn’t a Carouge anniversary that was not marked by a plate that recalled the event. This tradition was taken up by the potter Marcel Noverraz, established in la Chapelle-sur-Carouge, who in addition to creating original pieces manufactured plates, bowls and souvenir pots. The Museum of Carouge has a significant collection of Carouge faience and Noverraz earthenware.

From earthenware to ceramics

Over the past thirty years, earthenware has given way to ceramics. Artisans and artists have settled in Carouge, a place that fosters creativity. Workshops and galleries reflect this dynamism. Le Parcours céramique carougeois (the Carouge Ceramics Itinerary), organised every two years in parallel with the International Ceramics Biennial of the Museum of Carouge, attracts an increasing number of enthusiasts. The latest in line, the Carouge Ceramics Workshops, put their premises at the disposal of creators and organise internships and demonstrations. Carouge is once again this crossroads where lovers of the arts of earth and fire like to meet.

© Christine Ansermet, Swisspassions.