Friday Folks – Hannah McAndrew

"Friday Folks" blog post banner

Trio of slipware baluster jugs handmade by Hannah McAndrew

Welcome to #3 in our nearly new Friday Folks series.

We met Hannah McAndrew two years ago at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester and were immediately struck by her wonderful slipware pottery. We saw her at GNCCF again the following year and just had to treat ourselves to some of her wares!

green dotted horizontal line

Who are you & what do you do?
Hello, my name is Hannah McAndrew and I am a slipware potter working in the wonderful South West of Scotland. I make pots which I aim to be beautiful, which want to be picked up and held and which have a job to do and do it well. I want to make things that tell a story, that make people smile and that give a bit of warmth.

Hannah McAndrew at her kiln

How did you get into the business?
In the first instance I came across clay in a sort of accidental way, I went to Manchester Metropolitan University to study Three Dimensional Design and intending to focus on metalwork. In fact I could not stand the noise and the business in the metal department and by comparison the ceramics room was airy and quiet and light. The tutor there though, Alex McErlain, was probably the biggest influence though as his enthusiasm for functional thrown pots soon had me hooked and I suddenly knew just what it was I wanted to do.

I didn’t feel I knew enough though on leaving university to be able to just go out there and make pots so I searched for an apprenticeship. Eventually I found again in a somewhat accidental manner a potter called Jason Shackleton who lives near Dumfries who offered me a place working at his pottery. So that was that, I left Bolton and moved to Scotland and as soon as I started working with Jason I fell head over heels in love with slip, the techniques associated with it and the history and tradition and passion that stem from it.

trio of slipware bowls hand made by Hannah McAndrew

Who or what inspires you?
What inspires me? Pots, old pots, new pots, seeing other potters work, folk arts, tapestry and embroidery in particular, my imagination, my surroundings, and the way that clay and slips can come together and the potential that they have to create wonderful exciting things.

detail of Hannah McAndrew slipware pottery

What has been your greatest success?
A few things spring to mind when I think about successes for me and business, being asked to visit the USA in April 2011 to demonstrate my work there, being accepted as a professional member of the Craft Potters Association, being still here making pots and selling pots and still loving it after eight, nearly nine years of being self-employed.

pair of slipware decorated candlesticks hand made & decorated by Hannah McAndrew

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
To anyone wanting to enter the business I would say that being determined and passionate and enthusiastic about whatever it is that is your thing are key to your success. Do what you love, follow you heart and share your passion.

detail from handmade jug slip decorated with oak leaves by potter Hannah McAndrew