Fitch & McAndrew
Douglas Fitch & Hannah McAndrew
We are both long established potters with international reputations, having travelled in Japan and throughout the USA, to exhibit our work and to deliver workshops and lectures. In 2013 we became partners in life and in business. Our styles compliment, as we have evolved from similar influences, but our work is nevertheless clearly distinct from one another.
I, (Doug) have 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 at the age of eleven that I first encountered medieval pottery. My headmaster, a keen archaeologist would take us on trips to formerly inhabited sites, commonly ploughed fields, where our eyes would scour the furrows in search of fragments of pottery. Back in the school room, he would show us photographs of the type of pottery that these shards had once formed a part of. The experience gave me my understanding at the time, of what I considered pottery made by hand looked like. This aesthetic has formed the basis of my work ever since.
Hannah’s love for clay has seen her move from a densely populated urban area, to this quiet corner of rural Galloway. After her degree, the desire to continue to learn about pottery led her to an apprenticeship with Dumfrieshire potter Jason Shackleton. Jason introduced her to the techniques of slip trailing and sgraffito and the use of the naked flame to fire the pots in a kiln fuelled with wood. These techniques have formed the basis of Hannah’s work ever since.
Her motivation is to create pots with a purpose, for use in the home, in the kitchen or at the dining table, taking her influence from old English country pottery and medieval earthenwares. Her great skills as a decorator and ability to apply lettering in slip to pots have enabled her to produce many commemorative pieces, for which she is in much demand.
We now live in rural south west Scotland and share materials, working in red earthenware, decorated with a self-imposed restricted palette of coloured slips, covered with rich honey glazes. The pots are fired in the wood kiln, which we stoke continuously for up to eighteen hours. Subsequently we travel together to shows up and down the country, selling our wares. Our life is our work and our work is our life, we live and we breathe pottery.