Melbourne is home to a thriving and diverse community of artists and craftspeople, whose creations grace our weekend markets and our homes. While we marvel at their skill and wonder how they conceive and produce their works, we rarely get the chance to see them in action.
On 5-6 May, 2012, however, the public can enter the world of the artisans of the Shire of Nillumbik, in Melbourne's leafy north-east suburbs. The local artists open their studios every year, giving us all the opportunity to watch them in action in their 'native habitat'.
And when you visit, it's easy to see why they are inspired to do what they do. The stunning natural environment of the north-east with its lovely mature forests, open hills and verdant gullies makes even the least creative of us yearn to learn to paint or sculpt.
There is something for everyone – the wide variety of disciplines featured include paintings, ceramics, photography, printmaking, textile and glass art, jewellery and sculpture.
Some of the artists open their studios to the public by appointment only during the year, but the Artists Open Studio weekends are the only time when you can travel around the area and truly indulge your senses at more than one studio.
Why not make a whole day or two of it? There are plenty of great cafes and restaurants in the area where you can refresh and recover before moving onto the next group of studios.
Where? Shire of Nillumbik, about 30 minutes from the CBD, north-east of Melbourne. Studios are specifically in the towns of Warrandyte, Eltham, Research, Bend of Islands, Christmas Hills, Diamond Creek, Hurstbridge, Panton Hill, Cottles Bridge and St Andrews.