STONINGTON, Conn. -- It's the colors that grab you first: the eye-popping yellow of ''Soleil," the warm peach of ''Corbeille Rose," the forget-me-not blue of ''Fleuri Royal." Then you notice the exquisite detail in this hand-painted pottery from France, every piece stamped with the name of the factory in Brittany where it is made and the initials of the artist who created it.
Tucked away in an old mill in Stonington is the US retail headquarters of Quimper Faience (KAM-pair FIE-ons), the only place in the United States where nearly every available pattern of this collectible pottery -- more than 30 designs in all -- is on display, said manager Heather Card. Quimper is the town in Brittany where the pottery is made, and faience is the Breton word for earthenware.
Quimper carries on a tradition begun in 1690. The colorful patterns evoke French country life. The most popular, and also one of the oldest, Henriot, features a man and woman in peasant dress and stylized flowers in vibrant blue, red, and yellow. A new decor, Escale, designed in honor of the Stonington location, captures the nautical feel of the Connecticut shore with its simple blue and yellow boats. Prices range from $3 for the smallest pieces of Quimper-patterned tinware to $40 trivets to $700 swan baskets. A limited-edition Lalys platter goes for $5,000.
Quimper Faience, 22 Bayview Ave., Stonington, Conn. 860-535-1712; 800-470-7339. www.quimperfaience.com. Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.