My name isYannick Fourbet
In New Zealand I am “The French Potter” – in France I am just “a potter”, the artistic director of my family’s pottery Le Chêne Vert (The Green Oak), in the southern town of Anduze.
I first came to love the pots of my town when I began restoring them. As part of my antiques business I would take the horticultural pots, big and small, that had been part of a family’s heritage for years. I would repair the terracotta, rebuild a clay garland, a décor, reapply and fire the glaze.
But I love to make things. I yearned to learn to create my own pots. By a stroke of good fortune I met an old man who taught me the ancient technique of rope-coiled pottery.
Creating classic and bespoke Anduze Vases
I am a craftsman who sees beauty in every nuance of colour, shade and shape. Over the years I have developed my own glazes and my own range of pots, from the smallest biot to the tallest totem.
I love pushing the limits, creating the biggest pots possible. The rope-coiled technique I use means I am limited only by the size of my kiln.
Many of the shapes I offer I have designed myself, often for shows such as London’s Chelsea Flower Show, Maison et Objet, Paris, the antique fairs of southern France, and the Wanaka Fair.
I love designing and hand-sculpting garlands, décors, emblems that tell my clients’ stories. This I have done for many, including Christian Dior, the Palace of Versailles, the cities of Montpellier and Nice.
Through Le Chene Vert I have created and exported pots all around the world, collaborating with garden designers, architects and landscapers from Japan to Mustique Island, Brazil.
My pots are not a barcode product. They are not created for a throwaway culture. My pots are an enduring, beautiful heirloom crafted by hand from a sustainable source, using a technique that’s endured for millennia.
The French Potter in New Zealand
At the very start of 2018 I arrived in New Zealand with my Kiwi wife Philippa and our twin boys, Augustin and Mortimer, to start a new life in Central Otago.
My new venture, The French Potter, is now run from the stunning and inspiring landscape Domaine Rewa, a biodynamic vineyard and olive orchard just along from the 45th parallel, under the Pisa Range and only 10km from Cromwell.
As The French Potter I still import and sell classic Anduze vases from Le Chene Vert, but my specialty is handcrafting bespoke pots to my clients’ specifications. I am inspired by the challenge of designing and firing pots big and beautiful enough for the vast New Zealand landscape.
I plan to create a vase which would be typical and recognisable by its shape, like the Anduze vase is to the town of Anduze in Southern France.
Whatever my clients need and want in their unique pots, which will remain in their family for generations, The French Potter can create.