We are a group of mid-1700s historical reenactors who sell handmade reproductions of historical artifacts, including French colonial pottery, glass beads, quilts, ladies’ patchwork pockets, and gentlemen’s banyans.
Recently, the Hovde family toured France and visited various fabric and pottery museums as well as historic sites from Marseille to Paris. Since David is a former archaeologist, academic, and now full time potter, we made a pilgrimage to La-Chapelle-des-Pots, a major pottery center where much of the green glazed pottery found in New France originated.
David has wanted to come here for years, and we learned lots of new information. A site known for its pottery from the 1200s to the first decade of the 20th century, the town had ideal access to clay for the pottery, water for processing the pottery, and wood to fire the kilns.
Unfortunately, the pottery museum there is permanently closed, but we got a chance to study an 18th century kiln site and took lots of photos. The kiln construction is fascinating.
Pottery sherds litter the ground near the old kiln. The greens range from dark olive to nearly clear lime green and everything in between. The glaze on the sherds is opaque to translucent to transparent. We saw lots of evidence of a white slip under the green glaze.
Several sherds exhibited the ring and dot patterned pottery which is also part of the Saintonge assemblage, like that found at Fortress Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, and showed a good variation in colors.
Two examples of the Saintonge ring and dot pattern, similar to pottery found at sites in New France such as Fortress Louisbourg, Nova Scotia.
The August 2021 issue of Early American Life magazine included a photo of one of Marj’s 18th-century-style banyans (a leisure robe worn by men of wealth and culture) and accompanying cap (pinned to left sleeve in the photo below).
The pictured set was made from block-printed cotton from India.
Each year, the August issue of this magazine features a directory of artisans designated as Traditional American Craftspeople, an annual honor bestowed on both David and Marj for the fourth time.
This specific banyan & cap set was sold at a recent event in Vincennes, IN, but Marj would be happy to make additional sets on request. Cap styles can vary, according to the buyer’s preference.
For more information about this issue of the magazine, see https://www.ealonline.com/. If you already have a copy of that issue, you can see the photo on page 59.
As always, we will offer a wide selection of handmade, period-appropriate utilitarian pottery, usually in 18th century French Colonial styles. We will also feature a variety of period-appropriate textile pieces including quilts, “housewives” (sewing kits), gentlemen’s banyans with caps, knitted voyageur caps, Louisbourg caps, and ladies’ pockets. Each piece is handmade and based on historic sources.
With each piece comes with a description of the item that explains its historic purpose and context and the archaeological research that was done to ensure the piece is period-appropriate.
Because many events have been cancelled this year, we’ve built up an inventory of pottery and textile goods that we’d like to offer friends and acquaintances on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020 between noon and nine p.m. at 410 N. Main St., Mulberry, IN.
If you come in 18th-century garb, you’ll get a five percent discount on all sales. Of our total sales, five percent will be donated to the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.
Please wear a mask and keep six feet distance between you and other people. Hand sanitizer will be provided.
Since 2018, la Compagnie des Beaux Eaux has co-sponsored 18th-century French re-enactor events at the Ft. Ouiatenon Blockhouse, a property near West Lafayette, Indiana, owned by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.
On March 7, re-enactors from several states gathered at the “Sucre d’Erable a Ouiatenon” to reduce maple syrup into maple sugar, a practice common in this area during the mid-18th century when French habitants frequented the original Ft. Ouiatenon. The French learned this skill from regional Native Americans.
Heating the maple syrup in copper kettles for several hours and then placing the resulting sugar in period-appropriate molds occupied the day.
About 100 local people came to observe and learn more about this historical time period.
We plan to co-sponsor additional events at the blockhouse throughout the coming year.
Two French re-enactors use David’s chocolate pot and mug to enjoy period-style chocolat chaud, sweetened with maple syrup.
David and Marj recently expanded their knowledge of regional French colonial history by participating in the annual Nouvelle Annee gathering in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
On one of the coldest weekends of the year (January 25), we joined French Marine re-enactors portraying life on the frontier in 1759 at the Miami garrison. Our pottery and textiles were much appreciated by the participants.
David marked the occasion by shaving his beard of 7 years because the French of 1759 would have been clean shaven, according to the event commandant. The doubled wool voyageur toque that Marj knitted him kept away most of the cold.
In support of living history, la Compagnie des Beaux Eaux will again co-sponsor the Tippecanoe County Historical Society’s French Colonial Living History Weekend Campout on March 23, 2019, which demonstrates how mid-18th-century French habitants lived on the banks of the Wabash River.
For the third time, David and Marj were accepted by the magazine Early American Life to be included in their Directory of Traditional American Crafts, which will appear in the August issue of the magazine. David is listed for in the Pottery section, and Marj is listed in the Textiles section.
As a recognition of the authenticity and quality of David’s pottery, the Baldwin’s Regiment of Quartermaster Artificers has recently accepted us into their organization. Now when you see us at an event, we will proudly display this sign.