Guillaume Bimar, the dynamic son and partner of Vincent Bimar, founding owner of Poterie de la Madeleine, is a proud man. The Anduze Vase, long considered THE representational icon of French pottery is the foundation of his business, which actually produces pottery in a variety of designs and colors at their factory in the community of Anduze in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.
Poterie de la Madeleine was founded by Vincent Bimar over thirty years ago when he decided to produce the classic vase first made in the 18th century by the potter, Henri Gautier. During this time, there were many “free markets” in the South of France, near Marseilles. In one of these markets, Monsieur Gautier saw Italian pottery decorated with garlands of flowers and fruit which inspired him to design his own interpretation which included the macaron gracing every Anduze Vase today. Extensive gardens in Vauvert and Anduze were decorated with Gautier pottery and soon they were being replicated throughout the area, used primarily as citrus planters. After a time, the “Gautier” pot fell out of fashion, and for a few centuries were made sporadically throughout Southern France by artisan potters. When the “Anduze Vase” once again started reappearing, small family-run factories sprang up in the village of Anduze, some of which survive today.
Poterie de la Madeleine was the first Anduze manufacturer to export to the U.S. and is now the largest producer of the classic vase. Guillaume and his father employ 46 people, thirty of whom are making pots in ten different styles and 33 different finishes. If you were to visit the factory, Vincent Bimar might be one of those working on the pots, he is a quiet man and stays out of the spotlight. His son, Guillaume graduated from San Diego State University and received his Masters Degree in International Business at the University of Madrid before becoming a partner to Vincent. Father and son share their infectious enthusiasm for their work, designing both traditional and contemporary lines of pottery. The traditional Anduze Vase, available in classic colors, is being used in garden design throughout the United States, lending its inherent grace to a multitude of applications, but new, ultra-modern designs in exciting colors developed by Guillaume and Vincent provide sheer compliment to mid-twentieth design.
Guillaume is proud of his family’s success in preserving a traditional French product and proud that he and his father have made it available to those of us living outside the foothills of the Cevennes. He has his father and himself to thank.