The Potter

Tom Butcher Tom Butcher Tom Butcher Tom Butcher Tom Butcher Tom Butcher Tom Butcher Tom Butcher Tom Butcher Tom Butcher

The Potter

Tom produces both sculptural pieces and functional tableware from his studio on the shores of Loch Long, Scotland, where he overlooks the Arrochar Alps and is surrounded by the inspirational scenery of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Tom Butcher graduated from Brighton University in 2000 with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in 3D Craft. Teaching in Hackney, East London, it was a long term and slightly distant dream to be able to make a living as a full time potter.  Making a huge lifestyle decision, and taking a fairly substantial risk, Mansefield Studios was set up in Arrochar, Loch Long in 2004. Tom lives and works at Mansefield with his wife Fiona, and three children, Daisy, Ollie and Sam (and border collie Badger). Fiona and Tom were the first couple to be relocated by Phil Spencer and Kirsty Allsopp on Channel 4’s Relocation, Relocation.

Tom is now assisted by Gemm Fieller in the production of the Loch Long Stoneware functional range, which can now be found in various outlets in Scotland and England. Tom exhibits his sculptural pieces in Galleries throughout the UK.

The range is currently used at Simon Rogan's Fera, Claridges (London), Martin Wishart's restaurants The Honours (Edinburgh), and Martin Wishart on Loch Lomond, Cameron House (Loch Lomond), Isaac McHale's The Clove Club (London), Tom Blake's The Swan and The White Hart (Wedmore, Somerset), Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa (London) and Chris Charalambous' Cail Bruich (Glasgow).It was also used to style Tom Kitchin's book 'Kitchin Suppers'.

“The Loch Long Stoneware range is largely inspired by books from my childhood, books that got brought out again when our own kids came along - Quentin Blake and the Mr Men series in particular.  I started thinking about what a ‘cup’ should be and look like, then making it in as simple and pure a fashion as I could. Mr Small’s tea cup needed companions, so the large mugs appeared, then the butter dish.... and everything else.  It’s all extruded.  I like the fact that it’s not thrown or cast ware, that you aren’t ‘supposed’ to make extruded tableware. And I love designing and making.  It is constantly evolving as a product range with new additions all the time, and there is nothing more satisfying than opening a kiln of pots which are still warm”.

“It feels like the recent economic climate has gone hand in hand with a resurgence of interest in craft - products made with a  bit of soul.  People aren’t in the mood to buy a Mercedes, but they are very willing to invest a modest amount on some feel good, back to basics rustic stoneware.  Something that they can use and enjoy forever - a lot of the Loch Long Stoneware range will outlive most of us.”

“The Loch Long Stoneware range seems to have an all encompassing market:  men love the big chunky mugs, the quirky square range appeals to young people setting up home, and the stoneware wine cups and wine coolers are selling well as stylish wedding or anniversary gifts.  There are also some classic kitchen essentials like the garlic pot or spoon rest, which I’ve dragged into the 21st century, that appeal to all ages and customer types.”

“Everyone said I’d never make a living of being a potter. Looks like I’m going to prove them all wrong....”

For more information about Tom's influences and background, click here.

 

© Tom Butcher Ceramics 2017
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