Around 1917, Gilbert Méténier, an experienced ceramist, created the Grès d'Art Méténier company in Gannat with his father Louis.
After the death of his father, on May 10, 1922, Gilbert Méténier developed the production of the factory more widely, which initially had a single oven which proved to be insufficient, then equipped itself with a second. These ovens were supplied with oak wood from the Colettes forest, which was stored near the ovens, in order to accelerate its drying.
According to comments collected from Madame Bérioux, an employee at the Méténier factory from 1928 to 1939, the workshop had eleven to thirteen workers of both sexes.
The clay came from the Echassières quarry, a site also rich in kaolin explaining the whiteness of its sandstone, which mixed with water produces a fine paste. First kneaded by the men, the paste transmitted to the manufacturing workshop, then to the molding workshop, where the casting was carried out in molds with parts. The raw forms were thus completely dried before firing. Still white, they had to be cleaned of all their roughness in the finishing workshop.
Then came the passage to the enameling workshop, carried out mainly with a brush, with metallic oxides supplied by Rhône-Poulenc. This stage was particularly followed, with that of the creation of the moulds, by Gilbert Méténier himself: "He lived his passion for enameling, the creation of colors, the firing of the work", still according to Madame Bérioux. Among the glazes used for Méténier stoneware, we find: copper oxide, which gives blue-green in oxidation and red in reduction, iron oxide, which gives brown-black in oxidation and gray going from blue to green, in reduction.
Finally, the pieces were placed in round ovens with four hearths. On leaving the ovens, the pieces were reviewed, the bottoms grinded to remove burrs from the enamel, which could cause breakage or cracks. After a final check, the pieces were ready for sale.
About marketing, Madame Bérioux is formal, there was no catalog. The pieces were photographed, either separately or in groups, by Jules Faucheux, photographer at Gannat, then the photographs were sent either to customers or to representatives. In addition to the photographs, the representatives had at their disposal miniature samples, to represent the covers and the colors available.
The pieces were sent to the major Parisian stores (Le Bon Marché, Le Printemps, La Samaritaine, Les Dames de France), places of tourism, pilgrimage, seaside resorts and spas, especially Vichy and Roanne, with a large store.
The Grès d'Art Méténier factory closed its doors when the Germans arrived on June 18 or 19, 1940. Gilbert Méténier is said to have destroyed all the molds "so that they do not fall into the hands of the occupier" . He then went to live with his family in the Var, where we lose track of him.