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Honoré de St Cyprien

Until the last century, the convent of St Cyprien-sur-Dourdou consisted of a conglomeration of 5 houses and several buildings on adjoining land. Used as accommodation, chapel, refectory, schools, dormitories, infirmary or rooms with washbasin, all these premises were so many assets to maintain. It was a man named Honoré who helped the sisters in this task from the 1930s to the 1960s. Arriving out of nowhere, he was an outstanding handyman who overflowed  with knowledge and tips for maintain the convent at a lower cost. But his inventiveness did not stop at DIY, and in the attic where he was housed, he set up an incredible workshop to develop creations that were as much science as art.

Plan du couvent de Saint-Cyprien-sur-dourdou dans les années 50

The plan of the convent and its annexes in the 1950s.

An enigmatic profile

While there is no doubt that Honoré's imagination was fertile, his ability to carry out work in fields ranging from the natural sciences to the applied arts suggests that he was much more than a simple maintenance man. However, there is nothing that allows us to know more about his origins, the sisters having respected his discretion on this subject and being satisfied to see in him an envoy from Heaven. As for his surname, 60 years after the man disappeared, he is now credited with several that have one thing in common... not to be guaranteed. It is therefore a tangle of hypotheses that paints the portrait of the one who is simply called Honoré de St Cyprien.

Photo de classe de l'école maternelle de Saint-Cyprien-sur-Dourdou année scolaire 1958

Character that we imagine without ever seeing, Honoré is probably the author of this class photo (mixed kindergarten 1958-59 held by Sister Félicité).

Chance... or fate

It was in 2017 that a village elder was troubled by the similarity between the creations he discovered in an Aveyron workshop and those made by Honoré a few decades earlier. He shares his story with the tenant of the workshop, who is none other than Bastien Carré. Curiosity leads him to notice that the convent where Honoré was staying is for sale, and chance wants that it corresponds to what he is looking for to exhibit his work. It takes him little time to visit it, and not much more to redeem it. After restoring the rooms intended for his exhibition and opening the place to the public, he looks into the history of Honoré.

Escalier à vis du XVe siècle

The spiral staircase before and after the renovation. Dating from the 15th century, it serves 3 houses and leads to the attic where Honoré lived.

A treasure under the dust

If Honoré's productions have not survived the test of time, part of his material has been able to cross the decades piled up in the attic of the convent. No document allowing to establish with certainty the original layout of his room-workshop, it is the distant memories of some elders and the soul which emerges from his restored belongings which will make it possible to recreate the original atmosphere. And over the course of the reconstruction, beyond the tools or instruments whose purpose is perplexing, it is a universe of incredible and extravagant poetry that will emerge from its living space.

Détail de la Chambre d'Honoré de Saint-Cyprien
Détail de la Chambre d'Honoré de Saint-Cyprien
Détail de la Chambre d'Honoré de Saint-Cyprien

Some details of Honoré's room-workshop.

The heir

The year spent reconstructing the room-workshop is at the origin of a real artistic renewal for Bastien Carré. By endeavoring to rediscover the practical, scientific and artistic senses of Honoré, he discovers bridges between nature and manufacture, from the herbarium to the technical drawing and from the bark to the manufactured part. Honoré's spirit has imbued him and now inspires him with creative ideas that he develops with modern means. In homage to the one who opened this new artistic direction to him, he marks these works with an "H" for "Honoré de St Cyprien" and signs with the anagram Abies Terra nc.

Logo d'Honoré de Saint-Cyprien

Les Papillons de Conques

En parallèle des travaux nés de ce binôme atemporel, Bastien Carré développe de petits magnets inspirés d'une fable écrite par Honoré : Les Papillons de Conques sont faits d'élégants papiers associés à d'ingénieuses antennes aimantées. Légers et poétiques, ils connaissent un vif succès depuis leur commercialisation. Vous pouvez les retrouver sur notre boutique en ligne ainsi que dans plusieurs boutiques en Aveyron (voir page L'histoire).

Les Papillons de Conques
Logo Les Papillons de Conques
Les Papillons de Conques
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