Andy Allum graduated from BA Ceramic Design in 1991. He is a practicing ceramicist and has been a Ceramic Technician at Central Saint Martins since graduating in 1991.
Why did you choose ceramics?
My first experience of ceramics was at secondary school, coiling if I remember. While studying O Level ceramics we were taken on a school trip to Contemporary Applied Arts. I saw work by Gordon Baldwin, Ewen Henderson, Eileen Nisbet, Colin Pearson and Jacquline Poncelet. The diversity of what could be achieved working with clay was my inspiration to go to art school and study ceramics.
What are your best memories of studying at CSM?
The relaxed structure of the course gave you the freedom to experiment and develop your work.
What is your worst memory of studying at CSM?
The Stoke trip – lost on the moors trying to find the hostel. Cold, dark and foggy, dodgy electrics on my mini, no heat or wipers, and only side lights to drive by while my fellow students struggled with map reading duties.
At college, who made a lasting impression?
John Chipperfield (Chip) for his enthusiasm and skill in the subject, and for his encouragement. Lawson Oyekan for showing me that you can learn from your peers as well as your tutors.
How did the course shape and define your future career?
Since graduating I have been a technician at CSM for 25 years. I enjoy process, so where better to be than in the workshop where the focus is on making?
What were the creative influences?
Gillian Lowndes’ work, her use of components collaged together, horizontally, exploration of forms and the decay of the surface. Anthony Caro’s work of the mid 60s, again the emphasis on the horizontal and abstract construction with limited elements.
What differences do you see in education between then and now?
An obvious difference in education now it that student numbers have increased, whereas teaching staff have decreased. The demands on teaching staff have also increased: formative assessment, summative assessment, recording of tutorials and feedback all impact on the contact time with students in the studio.
Why have you continued to work in ceramics?
As a material I find clay very rewarding to work with. The interaction you have with clay as you construct or manipulate it can be challenging, but as you work the surface it can be incredibly satisfying.