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  • Writer's pictureLa Nouvelle Orléanaise

Anne Rouillé, a ceramicist who loves clay

Clara & Anne

The OterreFeu pottery workshop is located under the arcades of the Place Louis XI, in Orléans; an immediate soothing setting for those who venture to it.

On the ground floor, Anne Rouillé sells her creations: some useful items (such as plates, bowls, soap dishes…), some decorative objects, some ceiling lights, some lamps and even some jewellery. Upstairs, you can discover her workshop, which comprises a workbench, four electric pottery wheels* and a kiln which goes up to 1250°C.

I met Anne when I was willing to take pottery up, « to create something with my hands », and perhaps feel the relaxing effect of clay. I had booked a throwing session at the end of August 2022. For two hours, Anne taught me how to shape, throw and trim. A few weeks later, I retrieved, very proud of myself, two small cups that she had thrown, fired and glazed. Then, it is both for her talent and our friendship that I want to give her my very first article about the important persons who make the city of Orléans a nice place to live in.

For this article, I first met her at her workshop on 27 January. I asked her a few questions about her and her occupation. I also took this opportunity to question her apprentice: Clara. Later, on 2 February, I met a few clients who had been enrolled in pottery sessions.

The OterreFeu workshop

27 January 2023

LNO*: Anne, can you introduce yourself?

Anne: I have been a ceramicist in Orléans since 2020, but I am from the region of Paris. I work on glazed sandstone, which is a specific type of clay that can fire and vitrify at high temperatures. Aside of creating, I train apprentices; some clients as well through weekly sessions or a limited amount of sessions (from one to 10 sessions).

LNO: Tell us how you got to become a ceramicist.

Anne: A few years ago, I worked for a company which refused to hire me on a permanent contract. I found myself unemployed… Looking back, this phase was good because I was able to travel for three months in India and try the WWOOFING* experience back in France, where I met a ceramicist. We would eat our meals in the plates she had created with her hands, and that gave a new dimension but also more value to the ritual of eating. Then, I understood this could be the new direction to take in life. I decided to train at a school* in the region of Paris before opening my own workshop in my parents’ garage. I worked there for four years.

LNO: Why have you decided to move to Orléans then?

Anne: I met my partner, who supports me a great deal, and when we decided that Orléans would be our place of residence, I realised that there was no pottery workshop in the city. I saw that as an opportunity!

LNO: Do you have other projects in mind?

Anne: Yes, I do! The customers already have the chance to rent a pottery wheel machine in order to create with full autonomy, so the idea would be to give access to a low temperature kiln. In the foreseeable future, I would very much like to try producing porcelain which, like glazed sandstone, fires at high temperatures. I am also considering of transforming the ground floor which, at the moment, serves as a shop, with a view to getting more space to welcome the trainees. At last, I would love to have a pottery school opened in Orléans; a lot of people are interested in getting trained!

LNO: What aspect of your work as a craftswoman and businesswoman do you like the most here in Orléans?

Anne: I mostly like human relations, regardless of whether they are children or adults – but I also appreciate my working environment. It is nice and my shop is surrounded with other shops.

Being at the heart of Orléans is also a great opportunity to meet people from different countries and practice English. I have already trained or sold items to Belgians, Dutch and English people, even to people from North and South America.

LNO: How can we find you on social networks?

Anne: I have got my own website, and I am on Facebook and Instagram.

LNO: In conclusion, what is the secret to creating successfully?

Anne: I would say that one has to be patient and indulgent – towards oneself and the soil; and one should be in the present moment in order to feel the soothing and therapeutic effects of the soil.

LNO: Clara, in a few words, can you tell us more about your history?

Clara: When I was younger, I had learning difficulties. I could not find the right path for me. Eventually, I found out that the Lycée Henri Moisand, in Dijon, offered NVQ courses and training in pottery field. I was interested! During my first year there, I would either follow the courses or do internships. I am currently into my second year of training. I was hired by Anne a few months ago, and I feel like I am getting better everyday, because she tries to get me out of my comfort zone while reassuring me through her guidance and presence. Now, I can tutor trainees and manage the store if necessary.

2 February 2023

On that day, I met three trainees.

Agnès, a retired woman with eleven throwing sessions to her credit: « I like to come here. Anne is great; I meet different people while making valuable objects, because the value of an object comes from the love you have put into it ».

Chloé, on maternity leave, was doing her third session: « Making pottery is very relaxing; I only focus on the clay and on nothing else… And also the place is so small and cosy. »

As for Françoise, retired, she was doing her second session: « I had been willing to learn for a very long time; Anne and Clara are very good mentors ».

Anne & Agnès

La Nouvelle-Orléanaise



Electric pottery wheel: a machine designed for throwing round ceramic ware before the trimming.

LNO: La Nouvelle-Orléanaise

WWOOFING: World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms. It is a network which connects volunteers with organic farms.

The school where Anne trained: « Céramuse » (it no longer exists).


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