Given the popularity of the Maker's Lunches during 2017, it was particularly satisfying to have arranged, by popular demand, a lunch with Tim Andrews to end the year on a high note. We were most grateful for Tim making the journey from his home near Exeter to be with us.
Tim was apprenticed to David Leach in Devon before attending nearby Dartington Pottery Training Workshop and eventually returning to share Leach’s studio. He is now based in Woodbury. The issue for me is that this early experience was a major contributor to the range of skills that Tim clearly possesses. Once again we see a classic example of the essential relationship between skills and creativity.
The latest work from Tim represents so much of what we associate with this master potter - quality skills, subtle decorative techniques and such elegant design. Tim talked about a wide range of issues but emphasised from the outset that he saw his and every other maker's work in the historical context of pottery making over several millennia. There was considerable interest in found shards of ancient Roman and Chinese pots which he had gathered over the years.
Tim talked about and responded to a number of questions about his approach to raku firing. It was clearly the physical intervention in the firing process that fascinated him rather than the attenuated wait for extended conventional firing. He talked about the design of his vessels and the need for them to stand well with an evident presence.
Tim emphasised the significance of his early years with David leach and at Dartington. This was the crucial period when he developed the range of skills which he felt were essential to express his creative thinking.
During the lunch a wide range of topics came up including the changes that there had clearly been in the ceramic market over the last decade, the equally significant changes in the teaching infrastructure of ceramics and the limited opportunities for acquiring the range of skills which he had clearly gained in his early years in making professionally.
There was a very positive feel at the end of the lunch with a shared view that the two hours together had provided so much insight into the working ethos of this eminent maker and the wider ceramic sector.