Andrew Cope

Winter break

Recent acquisitions
Last week David and I took advantage of our winter break for a trip away. We had business to do in both Sydney and Melbourne, so we decided to make it a round trip, with a stopover in Canberra to visit family.  We visited a number of galleries along the way, picking up old purchases and leaving a small trail of new red dots in our wake.

Highlights were getting a preview of the John Kuczwal lustre fired ceramics exhibition at Sturt, seeing our John Perceval ramekins at Shepparton Gallery, handling pieces hot from the kiln at Tony Barnes’ Moonshine Pottery at Malmsbury, stumbling on a cabinet full of Petrus Spronk bowls in a corridor at the Convent Gallery in Daylesford, finding the Greg Daly exhibition still open at Skepsi, discovering a Peter Harris at the Chapel St Bazaar, and seeing Wilsons Promontary from Zak Chalmers’ Valley Plains Pottery at Leongatha South on our way home.

We arrived home with a car full of boxes that I am still unpacking and cataloguing, and two cats delirious at finding themselves home again after a week boarding at Brogo. Illustrated in the picture above are works by Tony Barnes, Zak Chalmers, Andrew Cope, Peter Harris and Ray Rogers now added to our collection.

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Known potter #33: Andrew Cope

Andrew Cope. Teaboat

This rocking teapot made by Andrew Cope in 1995 does hold water but getting the tea into it would pose something of a problem. The way it plays on the teapot form appealed to us  when we bought it at Beaver Galleries in the mid-1990s, and we also liked the wavy combed decoration and the inky-blue  drip glaze which, in various colours, is a signature feature of work from this period.

In 1995, Cope was based at Clayworks Australia in Dandenong, Victoria. As a talented young post-graduate of Monash University’s Caulfield Campus, he had been offered a residency there in 1993.  He ended up staying there for ten years, before setting up his own workshop at Byawatha in Rural Victoria in 2003. An article in Pottery in Australia/ The Journal of Australian Ceramics by Clayworks’ Fifi Campbell (42/3, 2003, pp. 80-81) describes the synergies that resulted from the ten year residency.

Andrew Cope. Gored vase

Our teapot, or at least the ‘teaboat’ exhibition series that it comes from, is mentioned in Cope’s entry in the 1996 Australian Potters’ Directory, as is his interest in synthetic wood ash glazes on manipulated thrown forms. David liked his work so much that he went back to buy this large (33 cm high) vase in shades of umber for my birthday.  It remains his favourite piece, but I secretly like the teaboat better.

Clayworks had a large oil-fueled kiln which gave depth and richness to Cope’s glazes.  A rectangular slab-built tray with combed surface and shino-type glaze attracted the H.R. Hughan Award in 1999, and was the starting point for a new series of trays and bowls (“Clayfever ’98 awards: The Victorian Ceramics Group’s Annual Exhibition. Review by Andrea Hylands”, Pottery in Australia, 38/1, 2000, pp.48-50).

Probably because he has been able to find a ready market for his work through regular solo exhibitions, Cope has a relatively small web presence – made even smaller recently when his Clayworks featured artist page was taken down in a website restructure. We haven’t had an opportunity to see his recent work, but  there is evidence that he is still busy making a living as a ceramic artist, selling work through Skepsi, demonstrating throwing at the Warrandyte Expo in 2003, and making containers for sale through high-end pantry outlets.

Postscript: I understand he now lives with his family on a small farm in Byawatha in northeastern Victoria, using an old diary as a studio: see Taste and Talk at Indigo Cheese Co – 6 Oct [2012]..

Andrew Cope. Teaboat. Base

Cope signs his work by incising his full name on the base or side, often with the year as well.