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This weekend sees the Nillumbik artists open their studios to the public once again. Last week I had way too much fun meeting one of the participants, ceramic artist, Jane Annois at her studio in Warrandyte.  Our chat included so many of my favourite things… France, the French language, Paris and the most exquisite, voluptuous nude raku pots imaginable. Stay with me, there’s a connection.

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Since 1997, Jane has regularly visited France to work with French potters.   She became involved in the French Pottery Markets (Marché de Potiers), where the participants encouraged her to start up a similar pottery market here. The Warrandyte Pottery Expo was born shortly thereafter. It’s become a regular feature on the Warrandyte calendar and is going from strength to strength. In 2013, seven French potters will come out to participate in it. In conjunction with this, they will hold an exhibition at Qdos Gallery in Lorne, so watch out for both of those events next year.  In the same year, Jane will be involved in taking a group of Australian ceramic artists to France for a potters market in Dieulefit. The following year, the same group of Australian artists will exhibit alongside French ceramic artists in Paris.

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Through her business, Zeste French Tours, Jane regularly conducts tours around France for a maximum of eight tourists. They enjoy, the food, the art and the countryside. She uses her considerable experience and knowledge of France to take participants to restaurants off the beaten track and to meet French artists in their studios. Other arts related destinations include the Musée Rodin in Paris.

Local artist Emmy Mavroidis, (art tutor for Zeste French Tours) was bowled over by Rodin’s work at the Rodin Museum. Emmy’s drawings on the pots (above) were directly inspired by that visit.

When Dena Ashbolt saw these same pots in Jane’s studio, she proposed a collaboration with Jane, which resulted in a whole body of work using the nude raku technique.  (More about Dena’s upcoming exhibition later this month.)

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Another of Zeste’s art tutors is Eltham painter and ceramic artist Chris Pittard …nice work if you can get it!  I’m told that there’s a language tour and a food tour planned for next year. Check out the information for the 2013 Zeste Tours via this link.

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Photograph provided by Jane Annois.

If you would like to meet Jane in her studio this weekend, you’ll find her at 109 Kangaroo Ground Road, Warrandyte on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information about the other Nillumbik Artists Open Studios Isiiad has visited, check out these links.

Shaaron SmithEv HalesMirranda BurtonNerina LascellesKate HudsonChris Pittard, Mary-Lou PittardJessie PittardOna Henderson and Syd Tunn, Margaret Summerton, Stephanie Mew and the Baldessin Press.

All work in this post is Jane Annois© and Emmy Mavroidis©