From The Archive: John James, Beautiful Table

September 30, 2020 No comments exist

Originally posted April 2017.

John has worked as a full time potter in the past, among other jobs. Now retired, John has returned to pottery, enjoying the freedom to pot as he wishes.

Where are you currently based?

We live on 60 acres near Warwick in South East Queensland. This is a great place for a potter interested in using local materials, as it is surrounded by several different geological regions — granite and china clays around Stanthorpe, volcanics around Main Range and sedimentary sandstones and clays near Warwick.

How did you get involved with Beautiful Table?

Stephanie was kind enough to ask me to include my work. It is great to be involved in a show that is all about using pots.

What is your relationship with the gallery?

MAKERS GALLERY provides me a venue to present my pots for critical review by those interested in ceramics, and pushes me to further improve my pots.

What materials did you use for this exhibition?

My pots are thrown on kick wheels, glazed using a single firing process. The glazes are applied at leather hard and are entirely from rock dusts, plant ashes, and clays collected locally. Pots are then fired for 18 to 20 hours in a 100 cubit ft wood fired kiln to cone ten flat. Some pots in this show are made from local clay bodies that I am developing, and I will slowly switch to making all my pots from these local clay bodies.

How has your background influenced your work in this exhibition?

Many of my pots have been fired on seashells or have marks from shells like spirula and tusk shells. My potter’s stamp is made with a seashell. Growing up on the coast and an early career as a biologist has given me a strong connection with the natural environment. Trying to reflect the aesthetics of the natural environment in my work is important to me. I now have the freedom to explore what using all local materials can add to my work.

What do you hope people will take away from this exhibition? 

As potters, we are involved in the art of making pots but, for functional pottery there is also the art involved in using these pots. Choosing which pots to best present food and drink for that special celebration. I hope buyers get this enjoyment from the pots.

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