Doug works in red earthenware clay, the pots simply decorated, with appliqué decoration or sgrafitto, using a basic palette of traditional slips, made from natural raw materials. Some of the clay is dug from rich seams, found in the field beside where the Devon workshop was – the same seams that have been exploited for thousands of years by the craftsmen before him. It is his intention eventually to make his entire production from this beautiful, native clay.
Doug's pots are thrown on the wheel and then fired either in a small electric kiln or on several special occasions during the year, in a kiln fuelled with wood.
The forms, predominantly large jugs, draw influence from the work of the medieval potters of England and the subsequent tradition of slip decorated country pottery, that was prevalent in this country until the early twentieth century. The skills presented by the master craftspeople of the past set an extraordinary high standard to which the contemporary maker must aspire. To seek to find one’s own distinctive voice amongst many who are using the same language is a challenge that Doug takes upon himself each and every day.
"I’ve been making pots for most of my life. It’s a strange thing, to be excited by something as simple as a brown clay jug and I can’t explain it, but it seems that it happens to some people; it just gets under your skin."
It was a passion for clay and slips and fire that brought Hannah McAndrew to south west Scotland.
After discovering clay and ceramics at university in Manchester, Hannah moved to Galloway to work as apprentice to Jason Shackleton. Whilst working with Jason she was introduced to the ancient techniques of slip trailing and sgraffito and fell in love with these traditional earthenware pottery skills.
She established her first workshop in 2003 and then in 2004, moved to Lochdougan House, the site of her current space, an airy, converted barn.
Britain boasts a particularly fine tradition of slipware pottery. Hannah draws on this rich heritage and uses it as the basis for her own contemporary work. Mainly making pots with a purpose, pots for use in the home, Hannah loves the challenge of creating a piece that will perform its task well, will be attractive to look at and be comfortable and warm to have around the house.
Thrown in red earthenware Hannah’s work is decorated using coloured slips and rich honey glazes. The decoration is trailed on to the surface of the pot while the slipped surface is still glistening wet. The freshly applied slip looks much like cream or melted chocolate and looks good enough to eat.
Hannah has built a wood fired kiln and is now working with the challenge of this new exciting way of firing her slipware pots.