Saturday, April 25, 2015

Decorating With French Biot Jars

I have been drawn to these stone olive jars for years because of their graceful shape and honey colored glazes. They are equally functional as a decorative piece or a garden accessory, the latter being what they are commonly associated with.

The origin of the Jarre de Biot is Biot, a small village from the South of France that was well known as a "potters village" as far back as Roman times when folks lugged around their wine and olives in clay jugs. Biot was rich in sand, quality clay and manganese and the jars were totally made by hand from a process of stacking circled ropes of clay, which are sized to form the shape of the jar, onto a bottom. Upon completion of the jar form the clay is smoothed inside and out by hand. The jar is then dried before going into the kiln. The jars were waterproofed by a thick lead glaze. Jarriers left theirs seals or trademarks of production, on the neck of the jars.

Biot is still making jars. The patina and forms of the jars are unique for the region.

Biot jars were used for storage and transport of flour and other products but the increase of the jars production was linked to the extensive expansion of the olive culture.

What makes the Biot jar unique is it's honey yellow glaze around the neck.

Katie Stassi

Biot jars have moved inside the home where they help to provide an old world feel to whatever space they inhabit.

Biot jars are lovely landscape elements and will give your pool area an ancient feel.

A beautiful container makes landscaping all the more pleasurable and the Biot jar certainly fills the bill.

This Biot functions as an attractive vase for flowers.

Due to the quality of its deposits of clay and stone oven, Biot became the largest manufacturing center of jar production in the Mediterranean. In the mid-17th century, it counted about forty pottery makers.  Biots can stand alone but are spectacular in groupings.


In this picture you get a good look at the wonderful yellow glaze that makes the Biot jar so desirable.

Provencal pottery typically does not include a maker’s mark but some examples, such as Biot jars, might include stamps on the side or bottom.

 Biot jars are lovely additions to the neutral tone on tone French style interior in which aged stone and crystal chandeliers are perfect complements to each other.  

Also the glow of Biots yellow glaze is perfectly suited for colorful interiors.

If you like topiary, a Biot jar makes a lovely container. They are fabulous paired with old statuary and other forms architectural salvage.

Bring a topiary inside and plant it in a Biot jar for a decidedly French influence.

This homeowner has thought outside the box and turned a Biot into a side table.

There are jars of Biot in North America and South America and throughout the Mediterranean. They are hard to find and usually very expensive. You can find some lovely reproductions however so if you really like the look it can be somewhat recreated without breaking the bank.

Authenic Biot jars can be quite pricey but manufacturers are finding ways to replicate these containers using such material as Hypertufa, a mixture of cement and several other ingredients such as sand, water, peat moss, perlite or vermiculite. Hypertufa is gaining popularity as an ideal medium to create outdoor flower pots and other garden decorations. It is lighter than concrete or stone, and able to withstand the elements. Look for these reproduction containers at your local garden center.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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