Andrea Roman at her studio

Industrial designer Andrea Roman has created her fifth ceramic collection of textured stoneware exclusively for Botany.

Andrea’s first commission for Botany came in spring 2014. Using materials and colours that reflected a natural approach, the result was a collection of raw stoneware planters simple in design, minimal detail and trimmings and left unglazed to resemble the soil, mud and earth. The size and shape of the planters was designed to house the plants that are sold in the shop and a simple hanging planter design was added to second collection onwards.

Last Autumn we caught up with Andrea at Turning Earth's original studio under the arches at Haggerston with photographer Anna Jacobson, to chat about her craft and collection for Botany, Andrea has since relocated to Turning Earth's new beautiful space in Leighton Marshes

Andrea Roman AR Ceramics

How would you describe your process in making the pieces for Botany?

Each batch of planters is carefully hand-thrown over the potter's wheel using a mixture of different clay bodies trying to portray a general sentiment of the season we are in. I try to replicate textures and subtle shades found on rocks, sand, mud and everything connected to the raw earth beneath our feet. Each piece is carefully trimmed with a simple bevel edge at the bottom, to add a shade and give the effect the piece is 'floating'. They are left unglazed to celebrate the beauty in the raw textures of the clay. 

In some sort of way I want these neutral planters to be a simple depiction of the fertile land were plants and life thrive. 

What's your daily routine when you are at the studio? 

I work from Turning Earth, a shared studio space with a great community, I get there 12ish and first thing for me is to be as quick as possible and grab my favourite wheel, the one by the window, with lots of light and several wooden benches to place my work and tools around. I brew water and make tea, select a nice playlist and put my headphones on. The rest is all about wedging clay, and sitting on the wheel indulged by the textures of clay, water and the wooden tools I use, some of them hand made by dear woodworker friends. When hunger hits, I go and buy nice bread, cheese and veggies with my potter friends to have a nice lunch together at the mezzanine. Then, back to the wheel, or to the glazing area to finish my work until 6 pm when I cycle back home through the canal. 

What are your key influences or practices that you take into account when working? 

I'm inspired by raw textures found in nature, I admire the process of Matthew Blakely and ideas behind it. I'm influenced by John Cage's notion that a surface can act as an airport for lights, shadows, and particles, to reflect subtle changes from the world around them. My aim is to motivate the viewer to slow down, watch each piece closely over time, and inspect the unglazed surfaces for subtle shifts in colour, light, and texture. If the viewer was sensitive enough, they could act as a reflective canvas that could tell what time it is and what the weather is like outside, just like Rauschenberg's White Paintings.



This is your opportunity to join Andrea Roman and make your own ceramic pinch pots, Botany Style. We're holding two ceramic workshops this time as it sold out last time, join us on Sunday 11th March and Sunday 6th May, for more info and booking click here.