Today's photos for the "On Your Desk" series come from two of my favorite people from the younger generation of mythic artists: painter/designer Yoann Lossel and writer/potter Claire Briant. They live in an old stone farmhouse on the edge of the Forest of Broceliande in Brittany, France (a landscape thoroughly steeped in Arthurian and Celtic myth), creating art out of paint, clay, words, ancient legends, symbols, spells, and the mysteries of nature.
In the photograph above, we see Yoann at his desk in the studio room the two artists share. Below is a close-up photograph of Claire's desktop:
"This is the place where I write, draw, and dream," she says. "You can see some of the many pictures covering the wall, as well as some quotes. I like to let my eyes wander on this wall; it really does inspire me when I write. At this time, I keep only two books on my desktop: one on pottery (the red one, which is kind of a bible) and the other dealing with ornamentation. I use them to create designs for my pottery."
"In this next picture (above), you can see both of our desktops and the pictured-covered wall."
"Here is Yoann's desk. It's twice as large as mine, as he does spend a lot of time here. This desk is dedicated to graphic art, and composing designs for books and websites. Obviously (as you can see from the speakers on his desktop), Yoann likes to listen to music as he works. On the left are some of our books, especially the ones we use as reference for our projects. These include Arthurian legends, myths in general, illustrators we love (like Dulac, Doré, Rackham, Beardsley, and Alan Lee), Oriental philosophy, cosmology, and quantum physics (which is truly Yoann's field)."
"When you look on the other side of the room you can see Yoann's painting place. The painting on the right is called Imperial Twilight. The other canvas is still white, waiting...for a snowy landscape.... In the middle are all the different preparations and secret recipes of the painter, waiting to be used. What a smell!!"
"Here is my very filthy pottery workshop. This is what I first see when I enter the place from my house. All the pieces you see here are drying, waiting to be fired."
"Above, another picture-covered wall, with reproductions you'll surely know, and some of my creations of patterns. On the work table are more bowls and cups just finished, drying."
"Here's my wheel, kind of neat for once. The big lazy black cat is Dude. He is forbidden to come inside the workshop, because he is my most demanding art director. Some mornings, I enter the place and see broken pieces of what use to be a pot."
"Above: more pots, and a sculpture as well. This is my first sculpture, and a second is coming soon."
"This big blue thing is my kiln. It sits just outside in a shelter made of windows and wood."
"So, here we step outside the workshop, directly into the garden. You can see six big green bottles of gas, which are here not to blow up the place, but to get my kiln working! Two at a time will be enough."
"And this is our garden. We spend a lot of time out here, just listening to the birds, watching the sky and clouds. It looks a bit dry these days, however, and those clouds aren't bringing any rain...."
Yoann Lossel's paintings have been published in L'Univers des Dragons II, Le Chaudron Magique, and The "Sir Lanval" Exhibition Catalog, among other places,; and there is an "Around the Table" interview with the artist forthcoming on the John Barleycorn blog. (I'll post a link to it when it's up.) To see more of Yoann's beautiful paintings and drawings, please visit his website.
Claire Briant's pottery is exhibited and sold in Brittany; she is currently at work on a variety of magical writing projects; and she is also associated with the Centre de l'Imaginaire Arthurien in the Forest of Broceliande. The photograph below shows a lovely pot that Claire made for me and Howard, inspired by the lines and lore of swans.