Curly Tale Fine Art
"100 Tea Pots"
Jake Johnson
For me, working for myself and making things with my hands makes me feel more grounded and perhaps even more human. My work is not rooted in a particular tradition or style, but rather a tempo or mood that I think comes from some combination of my personality and interests. I was originally drawn to clay because of its working properties; before it is fired, clay is a very squishy, soft, malleable material. These are qualities which I embrace and exploit in making my pieces. By giving my work some qualities of life--a sense of movement, growth, and breath—the pieces can develop presence and can take on unique personalities and trajectories. I hope to project a feeling of animation in my work that suggests energy or gesture. Inspiration for many of my forms and surfaces is often drawn from the natural world. I spend a lot of time outdoors, working in my garden, walking in the park, or hiking in the woods looking for mushrooms. This time outside of my studio is important for me; it informs my work in ways not achievable in the studio alone.

I try to make works that engage users visually and tactually, while also fulfilling a purpose for the user. I primarily work on the potters wheel with porcelain, though occasionally I use stoneware to achieve a different quality in my glazes. Most of my work begins as symmetrical vessels but is often altered or cut and then sometimes re-assembled to make new shapes. I find that the potters wheel can be a very versatile tool in achieving any number of shapes and forms. Having fun with new forms and techniques on the wheel is one of the things that keep me going.
Currently I fire in oxidation atmosphere in an electric kiln and use controlled cooling to achieve more depth in some of my glazes. I fire to cone 9 or 10 (2300-2350 degrees F) depending on the glazes and results I'm trying to achieve. Experimentation with glazes and firing cycles is constant, as I'm always looking for something new and exciting to flavor my work. Using a variety of glazing techniques, such as resists, glaze inlay, brushing, and layering, I also experiment with what I can do with those glazes to embellish my pieces in new and interesting ways. In the end I'm hoping to achieve a functional piece that has both an interesting finish as well as form and that the combination of the forms and glazes create something as unique as it is useful.

I’ve been working in clay for about fifteen years now. My work has been in more than 30 exhibitions across the U.S. and has appeared in publications such as Clay Times magazine and Lark Book’s 500 Series. I grew up in Peoria, Illinois where I also went to college as an undergraduate at Bradley University. That is where I was first introduced to clay and where I received my initial art training. I spent a couple of years afterwards working as a potter before moving to Pennsylvania to go to graduate school at Penn State. There I received an MFA in Ceramics. I’ve been working full time as a potter ever since. I am currently living and working in Waynesboro, Virginia.