‘Together’ exhibition at Castle Douglas

'Collaborative Jug' by Hannah McAndrew and Doug Fitch.' The image is by Claire Borlaise.
'Collaborative Jug' by Hannah McAndrew and Doug Fitch.' The image is by Claire Borlaise.

Designs Gallery will be hosting the first joint exhibition north of the Border of work by slipware potters, Doug Fitch and Hannah McAndrew starting Saturday, October 11 and running until November 8 at Designs Gallery, Castle Douglas.

It is a collection of their best and most recent work on which they have both worked extremely hard, producing a range of functional and beautiful pots.

Alex McErlain, retired head of Ceramics at Manchester Metropolitan University, film maker, potter and writer will be opening the exhibition with a short talk at 11am on Saturday morning. Doug and Hannah will both be there to discuss their work and Designs would invite anyone interested in contemporary ceramics to come along to the gallery.

These two potters draw their influence from the ancient tradition of country pottery that is part of the folk heritage of Britain.

Although its roots are firmly set within tradition, their work is not simply pastiche. Their pots are produced with the finest of traditional craft skills, but embrace contemporary style, which makes their pieces, very much of our time.

Both are long established potters with international reputations, having travelled with and exhibited their work in Japan and throughout the USA. Last year they became partners in life and business and next year are to become formally joined, when they marry in Corsock, Galloway.

Fitch and McAndrew currently spend their time travelling between the workshops they now share in Devon and Galloway.

It was a passion for clay and slips and fire that originally brought Hannah McAndrew to south west Scotland. After discovering clay and ceramics at university in Manchester, she 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.

Doug Fitch has spent the last 20 years working in Devon using the same techniques to produce predominantly large jugs which 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. Thrown in red earthenware, pots are 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 good enough to eat!

Doug says of his work, “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.”

Exhibition runs from 11th October – 8th November at Designs Gallery opening times Mon-Sat 9.30-5pm.