It’s not often you meet the makers of the toys we buy for our children. It’s even rarer to meet a crack team who are the keepers of a dying tradition of crafting slow toys. Meet Nicolas and Carine Tirot ~ the last of the artisans of handmade eco-wood French sailing boats or pond boats which are crafted using entirely French materials.
Originally a shoemaker, Nicolas’s grandfather, Francis Tirot, began making toy boats to replace his wooden clog business just after World War II in 1946. Francis’s already tight skills were perfected and handed down to his son Eurl, who bestowed them to Nicolas.
Each boat is handmade using beech wood grown in a sustainable forest in Brittany France about 50kms from the atelier. Nicolas works each piece carefully using a combination of modern tools and a couple that still survive from his grandfather and father’s days.
Carine, Nicolas wife, sews each sail and handprints the motif to create an individual work of art.
Artisan craftsmanship like that of the Tirot’s is highly esteemed in France. Bateaux Tirot was awarded the Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant for its quality leveraging it into the class of Hermes, Chanel and Christian Dior. The value is astounding given the long-lasting quality of each boat at a price that is affordable to all families. When sailed the boats are bouyant, beautiful and from a distance you would almost think they are real yachts and dinghies. (The real yachts are on the right yet who could tell the difference?)
But does the cat (or foreman) in the sawdust care? He tried to bite me when I patted him, which we took as a sign to depart the atelier to eat, drink and swap stories about our kids – another lovely French tradition.
You can see our beautiful range of handmade wooden sailing boats made by Bateaux Tirot here.
Thanks for visiting, please feel free to leave a comment on what you love about the concept of artisans and slow toys.
Linking with gorgeous Grace.