Carpentry was Andrew Dowden's trade; and during research for a book on Isle of Wight pottery, watching a bowl being thrown on a wheel, he was inspired to take up ceramics, now an absorbing pastime.
Andrew's work is constructed and more sculptural than functional - each piece being hand-thrown, hand-thrown and joined, or slab-built and joined. Hand-carving and textured surfaces are his main interest. Each piece, whether a standing form or wall-hanging plaque, is individually designed, with design, form and surface texture, being more important than any particular function. He also enjoys making ceramic tile panels, for which he also makes the wooden frames.
Andrew uses different clay bodies depending on the piece being made. A red earthenware clay body is favoured, having a warmth and glow not readily found in other clay bodies - Andrew also uses a buff earthenware and a black grogged clay body. A limited palette of slips and glazes allows the clay to become an integral part of the surface design.
Ideas for hand-carving are derived from many sources: the surrounding sea and countryside - tracks made by man, machine and by nature, leaving their imprint on the earth; architecture, machinery and engineering; and a fascination and interest in rock formations, archaeology, history, including ancient sites and monuments add further dimension.
Andrew strives to achieve new forms, with complementary surface textures and designs.
Andrew's work is in private collections throughout the UK, Canada and the USA. Several pieces of Andrew's work has also been on show at Grand Designs Live London, selected to complement an interior room design.