I have been making pots for over 20 years and exhibited throughout the UK and sold to galleries and shops via all the major trade fairs. I have pots in various private collections including the Rothschild collection. My work has evolved and matured and followed many different styles and techniques, but the process of making has remained the same always aiming for the highest standards, and creating original honest, and intuitive work that has been informed by historical, and hard won practical experience as a production thrower.
I have always followed an individual and experimental approach to clay following many pathways in my development as a potter and as a teacher, this creative thirst for knowledge and passion for my vocation, I hope is shown in the work that I have produced over the years. Wisp farmhouse pottery based in Scotland was a successful pottery producing wood fired salt glaze stoneware and sold throughout the UK via major trade shows. Mill Farm Pottery based in Kettering produced garden ware and cookware for direct sale to the public and some shops.
My formal training has been varied starting with Wrexham College of art, Chesterfield College of art and Cardiff. With teachers David Binns, Willie Carter, Geoffrey Fuller, Trevor Nicklen, Chris Yenson, Geoff Swindell, and Pete Starkey and a whole host of visiting lecturers who have been influential and enabled me to experiment and play with kiln building, glaze technology. This approach to ceramics has remained the core of my practice as a teacher and a maker today.
For years-long before I had access to a wood fired kiln, I have been attracted to the pots of the Shigaraki, Jin Dynasty 4th century, Yue Ware of the Tang Dynasty, Momayama period in Japan and the beauty of form and shapes of peasant medieval ceramics and Buckley pottery.
The simplicity of the pots and the use of local materials clay, rocks, and ash for making glazes have inspired me to create work that is I believe unpretentious and honest my throwing ability has progressed over 20yrs and I try to impart my feelings and emotions into the pot sometimes almost deskilling.
The building of many kilns over years has also allowed my work to progress, and more recently the building of 2 kilns an Olsen fast fire and in collaboration with Willie Carter a bourry fire box side stoke kiln have enabled me to produce a variety of work that reflects my individual style. I am currently relocating and building a Bourry/oil fired kiln and in collaboration with Wrexham College of art I am firing some work in the Gas Kiln.
My work is not over decorated and relies more on the forms and the subtle relationship of intuitive decoration and the natural glazes, these are formulated from local materials and I use these as much as possible for my slips and glazes particularly wood ash from various wood burning stoves, and stone dust from a number of quarries and stone cutting businesses.
I also investigate and experiment with river iron slips and high iron clays. More recently I have found red clay that I dig from the side of a mountain in Llangollen this makes a fantastic slip and an incredible red crystal glaze. The alchemy of ceramics and the processes and stages of making are the key factors in the production of my work each one fitting together to make a whole.
I do take on commissions and enjoy the challenge of making to order having managed two professional pottery businesses, and I am at my most creative when I am working towards deadlines for gallery exhibitions this gives me the opportunity to experiment and produce new work.
Work Generally Available from:
Gallery Bevere Worcester
The Chapel Llangollen
The Royal Pavillion Llangogllen
The Ridgeway Gallery Marlborough
The Oxford Ceramics Gallery to see Andrews work at Oxford click here
Gallery SCA, 3, St Alkmonds Place shrewsbury, SY1 1UJ
Pyramid Gallery York
Lund gallery - March 2009 - ongoing
Marlborough gallery - December - 2008 - ongoing
Art matters Tenby - Andrew Richards Elizebeth Haines - May 2009 - ongoing
Octagon gallery - To be arranged 2009
My work has evolved over time but the formative years of Chesterfield
and the building of numerous kilns and experimentation of wood fired
salt glaze and oil firing has left a permanent mark on me. This
experimental honest approach to making can be seen in the early photos
of Chesterfield and my final show moderated by Takeshi Yasuda who
commented on the quality of work and my commitment to wood firing
gaining a Distinction. (Exhibition with Janet Leach, Geoff Fuller
Wisp farmhouse pottery was an extension of the Chesterfield training and was my first pottery producing as you can see in the photographs wood fired salt glaze cook ware and individual pieces. This was a production pottery with me throwing up to a tonne of clay every 14-16 days depending on orders and shows.
The full range of the work produced was vast and if anything a little diverse, but the honesty and professionalism was always apparent in the work and in my attitude to the supply of galleries/shops. Please view pictures.
Mill Farm Pottery Kettering
Mill Farm Pottery was established after a move from Scotland and a new workshop within a stable yard complex. The pottery produced a range of Tin glazed utilitarian ware and Earthenware plant pots and garden ware. The pottery lasted 3yrs and I then went back to University in Cardiff to gain a degree in ceramics this would lead to a teaching degree my end goal.
Albania Charitable Project, establishing a pottery workshop.
I have been involved in a number of projects too numerous to mention, but here is an example of one project in Albania establishing a self sustaining workshop with local people... This was a 14 day project to create a working functional pottery from scratch, sourcing clay, building wheels, equipment and a trolley wood fired kiln and training four individuals. The making process was with the use of plaster moulds producing large scale Garden ware... This was a joint venture with Martin Lungley another production trained thrower and a good friend. This project drew on our joint knowledge and experience and was very successful. Please view pictures.
I have, I suppose been a teacher in various guises over the years but formerly a teacher of Art for 8yrs and Head of art for 3yrs. This has led to a good understanding of me and the world of art in general but the most satisfying part of teaching children and young adults is the opportunity and privilege itself. To be a maker and a teacher is rare and my skills as both have come into play on many occasions both in the UK and in the States.
My passion for imparting knowledge and experience will never waiver and the proof of its success can be found in the work produced by students and them by becoming the artists of the future. Please view pictures.
My work is not over decorated and relies more on the forms and the subtle relationship of intuitive decoration and the natural glazes. These are formulated from local materials and I use these as much as possible for my slips and glazes particularly wood ash from various wood burning stoves, and stone dust from a number of quarries and stone cutting businesses. I also investigate and experiment with river iron slips and high iron clays. More recently I have found red clay that I dig from the side of a mountain in Llangollen. This makes a fantastic slip and an incredible red crystal glaze. Experimentation and creativity go hand in hand and the process of making is evolutionary with each kiln firing creating new glaze pathways.
A few galleries examples listed:
CPA Marshall Street, London. Stepping out exhibition and award for travel India.
And Albert York
The Royal Scottish Academy RSA the Mound Edinburgh Scotland
Marion McManus Gallery
Scottish Potters Association
Northern Potters Association
Edinburgh Fringe Crafts
Tall ships Leith Harbour
Golden Bridge Pottery India
Wrexham College of Art
Harrogate Trade Fair, spring, summer and autumn.
Birmingham International Trade Fair, Spring.
Aviemore Trade Fair
Edinburgh Fringe Craft and Trade Fair.
New Designers London
All of the above trade shows produced orders to galleries and quality craft shops throughout the UK too numerous to list.