How did you start out on this path? Did you always know this was what you wanted to be doing?

I had no idea I would end up as an artist, and actually when I was at school wanted to be a meteorologist, though ended up studying linguistic theory at university. I hadn’t studied art at school and started doing art for fun at my local college’s evening classes. It just went from there.

How has your work evolved since you first started making?

Actually I studied ceramics (under- and post-graduate) at art school, so it has changed quite a lot! But even my textiles work has changed dramatically since I started doing it in around 2006. I was just playing around to begin with, as I have no textiles training. The development is organic – I have no definite plan for how it evolves.

How do you approach studio time – get yourself into the right frame of mind for creating/making?   Do you work better at certain times of the day?

I have no particular way of approaching the day’s work, other than getting the coffee on. I can’t concentrate fully on work unless there’s a mug of coffee on the desk! And time of day doesn’t seem to make a difference.

How do you challenge yourself within your work? Do you always see yourself working in this medium?

I find repetition stultifying (though enjoy remaking a handful of characters such as bad bunnies and bees), preferring to embrace change. I’m not naturally a one-medium person, although working with textiles seems quite natural and inspiring, because of its flexibility and potential for variety. My studio, however, is packed with other materials, and bits of projects that are not strictly visual art. Time is the biggest constraint – if there was more time available I would be working in a variety of media. So for the future, who knows.

What would/has been your ideal commission?

I don’t do many commissions, and am not sure what my ideal would be, but I have to say that making the lobster for The Table has been my most fun commission to date!

We know that social media channels such as Instagram play a pivotal role now in giving a platform to artists. To what extent has it benefitted you? Do you think it’s possible for it to ever truly replace a traditional bricks and mortar gallery?

I think these days a mix is needed of different ways of showing and selling work if an artist is to succeed. But seeing work online is no match for looking at the real thing – it’s a completely different experience, and it’s hard to really look properly at a piece of work, or contemplate it fully, in an image, just as looking at a picture in a book is a remove from the real thing. So I don’t think galleries can be replaced. We need to be able to experience works of art directly to fully appreciate them.

Is there a recent exhibition that you have loved so much and encouraged everyone to go see?

The recent exhibition of David Lynch’s visual art at HOME in Manchester was wonderful. I’m a long-time fan of his films and TV, so to see his artwork for real was hugely inspiring. I also found the Alice Kettles exhibition at the Whitworth last year awe-inspiring. An incredible body of work, and very moving.

What does the future hold for you and your work? Do you have any exciting plans for 2020?

I admit I’ve had little time to think about future plans, though would like to try and progress some of the many other projects (not all sewing) that have been started over the last year or so. I think the work will just keep going on and evolving in the organic way it has in the past. I rather like that way of working, not knowing how things will turn out. A definite for 2020 though is that I’ll be at the wonderful Craft Festival in Cheltenham Town Hall in March, for the third time. Very much looking forward to that.

 

 

 

How did you start out on this path? Did you always know this was what you wanted to be doing?

 

Both our backgrounds were very much involved in the creative side of life. (Andy originally a carpenter/Joiner and Karen from a fine art sculpture background.) Working and living together 24/7 has its challenges but we both share a passion for clay and our work evolved organically. Clay is the absolute perfect medium for us – forever learning and of course the very nature of working with clay makes us always humble!

Working and creating with our hands is part and parcel of who we are and neither of us can ever imagine any other life path!

 

How has your work evolved since you first started making?

 

When we first started our creative partnership in clay, over 10 years ago, we gave ourselves a parameter of working in the traditional medium of slipware using red earthenware clay. We have settled into our roles – Andy throwing and Karen illustrating the work using the sgraffito technique, a very time consuming and incredibly satisfying way of drawing. The work has become more adventurous and our approach to it more confident.

 

How do you approach studio time – get yourself into the right frame of mind for creating/making? Do you work better at certain times of the day?

 

To be honest we are always in the right frame of mind to work in the studio (obsessively). We feel fortunate that our studio is in our garden making the commute to work very enjoyable, overlooked by our lovely chatty rescue hens! There are never enough hours in the day and with no internet access in the studio distractions are kept to a minimum.

 

How do you challenge yourself within your work? Do you always see yourself working in this medium?

 

Working in the traditional medium of slipware is a constant challenge – so much can go wrong at every stage! It is with a mixed sense of relief, satisfaction and amazement when a piece turns out well! We are not large production potters but we strive to create original, beautiful and functional pottery. We cannot imagine ever doing anything else than working in the clay process…… quite honestly, we believe we will be doing this for as long as we are physically able!

 

What would/has been your ideal commission?

We had a commission for a large, lidded wedding pot about 8 years ago and we made 3…. just in case! The whole experience was a challenge and after two failed attempts we eventually produced a piece we were happy with. It is a very detailed pot with lots of drawn/sgraffito imagery pertinent to the couple. However, it now sits in our display cabinet due to the couple splitting up not long after their marriage! It is a pot with a story to tell!

 

 

We know that social media channels such as Instagram play a pivotal role now in giving a platform to artists. To what extent has it benefited you?

 

Do you think it’s possible for it to ever truly replace a traditional bricks and mortar gallery?

We would say Instagram has benefitted Adrift Pottery enormously. Through it our audience has exponentially grown worldwide and we send work to far reaching corners. It is a huge source of inspiration and encouragement; the pottery community within it is particularly supportive and that helps immensely when living and working in rural West Wales. However, we do have a love/hate relationship with it; it can simply be too overwhelming at times. Hence the fact we don’t have internet access in the studio!

As for social media replacing a traditional bricks & mortar building…. absolutely not! Ceramics and art both work best when physically seen and if possible touched. It would be a sad world indeed if the gallery environment disappeared.

 

Is there a recent exhibition that you have loved so much and encouraged everyone to go see?

 

We had the privilege to be invited to exhibit at Art at The Hall, Llangathen, Carmarthenshire, twice this year and it was a really well curated show. Both shows had a separate theme and lots of artists working in different mediums were exhibiting. It felt very exciting to be a part of it and in such an amazing venue. We were proud to encourage everyone to go see it; exhibits were grouped together and periodically moved around creating interesting juxtapositions. So many local talented artists, usually hidden away in West Wales, exhibiting together felt exciting and special.

 

What does the future hold for you and your work? Do you have any exciting plans for 2020?

 

Our work is constantly evolving, and we have many new ideas we plan to work through. One especially exciting plan for 2020 is to self-build a wood firing kiln behind our studio. We believe this will develop our work in many different directions and we can’t wait to get the project underway.

 

 

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