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Andrea Brewer

October 17, 2019 @ 09:00 October 19, 2019 @ 17:30

From a young age Andrew Brewer has always been a keen maker and craft worker, but it was only after taking a ceramics evening class in her mid-twenties that she fell in love with the medium of clay.  She continued with informal classes for a year or two before completing a city and guilds in ceramics and becoming an artist in residence at a secondary school for 3 years.  It was there that she developed her style of hand built high-fired stoneware ceramics and first started exhibiting her work, while also teaching ceramics to staff and students.  Since then, in between dull but necessary admin jobs, she has worked as a free-lance theatrical prop maker and as a peripatetic art workshop teacher in primary schools, while doing some ceramics on the side.  It was only when she moved to Watlington in 2013 and discovered the phoenix studio that she was able to return to ceramics properly and start exhibiting her work again. 

In the past she was a member of the London Potters Association and Craft Potters Association, and exhibited at their selected members’ exhibitions, as well as at the gallery upstairs in Henley-in-Arden.  More recently, she has just participated in Oxfordshire Artweeks (as part of the Watlington Arts trail) and Bucks Artweeks.

The predominant influence on her work is the spiral.  Apart from finding the spiral a beautiful and pleasing form, she is intrigued by its symbolic significance.  Spirals can be seen extensively in nature in the form of plant structures, patterns of growth, and in the movement of elements. Prehistoric cave painting, tribal carving and Celtic/Viking knotwork are all ancient examples of spiral motifs and seem to demonstrate how early humans instinctively knew the significance of the spiral, which modern science has since proven with the discoveries of the double helix of DNA all the way up to spiral galaxies.  She is also fascinated by clockwork and mechanical machinery, the workings of which she sees as a kinetic representation of the spiral.

Most of her work to date has taken the form of hand built ceramic sculpture, primarily using stoneware crank clay. This, combined with dry finish, mottled glazes (her own recipes) creates a textured quality to the surface resembling lichens and moulds found in nature, or rusts and patinas that natural forces create on man-made materials.  She enjoys blurring the boundary between the natural and the man-made – to make stylised, almost industrial or mechanical forms that also appear strangely organic.  She is intrigued by urban decay and the way nature ‘reclaims’ man-made structures.  It is a reminder that most man-made materials originated from natural materials, and that despite all our attempts to preserve them will eventually, in time, revert back to nature.


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