The route from Stokey to Scotland...
Posted: Jul 19 2013
We are delighted at Nook to be stocking these gorgeous stoneware carafes and beakers made by Tom Butcher, who produces both sculptural pieces and functional tableware from his studio on the shores of Loch Long, Scotland, overlooking the Arrochar Alps and surrounded by the inspirational scenery of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
Tom followed an uncannily similar path to Nook member Jack, graduating from Brighton University with degree in 3D Craft then moving to Stoke Newington, where he took up teaching. That’s where the similarity ends! Tom then embarked on his ultimate dream to make a living as a full time potter and took the step of setting up Mansefield Studios in 2002. Tom now lives and works at Mansefield with his wife Fiona, three children, and Border collie, Badger.
We asked Tom what inspires and influences his work:
“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….’
“The rocks and water of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park that surround me also play a large part in the natural simplicity that embodies my work. Escaping into the wilds of the Arrochar Alps on my mountain bike helps me balance life, work and family, and helps me to focus on new designs and processes.”
And how he feels the current mood in the UK has effected crafts and hand made products:
“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.”
And a last word from Tom and Fiona?
‘Stoke Newington? We’ll always miss it…..’