Ceramics Monthly: How has your work and practice
changed since you were featured as a Working Potter in Ceramics Monthly?
Adam Frew: My work has changed so much since 2014, perhaps most notably in my decoration. My work has moved into a more painterly style; I don’t do any inlaid lines anymore. Instead, much of the surface is applied with brushes, or I like to work into a painted slip surface with a sponge.
For the last few years, I have been developing my plates. This grew from a desire to have a more direct relationship between my pots and food. I started to take my plates out with me to restaurants and would ask the chef to serve my meal on my plate. The response was fantastic. Chefs were really intrigued and excited by having a different plate to work with. I posted it on Instagram and Facebook under #pottersplatedate. This then led to opportunities to work with chefs, supplying their restaurants with pottery. Sleepy Hollow, a local restaurant that uses my plates, put on a special evening called Plate Date. It consisted of 5 courses served on my specially designed plates. It was such a pleasure to have a room full of diners eating fantastic food, all from my plates.
There is something very satisfying about working with restaurants and cafés. I suppose because my pottery is made to be used, it’s great to see it in action on a large scale and also to collaborate with creative and passionate chefs. A current project came from a chef seeing my work on Instagram. That’s another change in my practice, using Instagram. I joined it 3 years ago and it has opened up so many opportunities, including a chef opening a restaurant in Dublin, Ireland, who wants to commission some tableware. He also saw a sink I made for my own bathroom at home and he wants to order 4 of those as well.
CM: You recently built a studio at your home. What has this meant for the development of your work and life outside your studio practice?
AF: I now work from my own studio space at my home in a converted old barn. It gives me so much more room and it is a wonderful, bright space. I moved in last August. I have a really good display area for my pots, which is fantastic as I have an increase in customers coming directly to me. I plan to run workshops from my studio, which will make a huge difference to my business and take some financial pressure off production. It also makes for a healthy work/life balance. I don’t have the 25-minute drive into work anymore and, since my wife is home looking after our 2 year old and 6 month old, I get to have lunch with my family nearly every day.
CM: Was there anything surprising about crowdsourcing via Kickstarter to raise funds for constructing the studio?
AF: I was blown away at how quickly I met my Kickstarter target. I was also surprised at how many international backers participated. Being promoted as Project of the Day brought me an amazing number of backers in just a few hours! I reached well over my target and it made constructing my studio possible.
Photo: Ben Boswell.