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artist experiments Outside surface quality work in progress

Incidental slip effects

My slow burning, smoke firing journey continues….

swirl pattern in a bucket of thick pottery slip

One of the most satisfying outcomes has been the incidental surfaces and effects that appear when I’ve been getting creative applying a slip resist to the surface of my bisque fired ware.

In an attempt to echo the experimental way I manipulate freshly thrown form, I’ll often take a thick brush loaded with slip and flick it at the poor unsuspecting pots. Most of it hits the target but there is also a considerable amount that doesn’t! Splash-back and wayward slip often deposit on the work surface, floor and pretty much everything in a five mile radius!

pottery slip bucket and lid

Below are some examples of chance and incidental slip landings – one of which looks remarkably like the surface of the moon. Wonder if I could replicate the effect on the surface of a pot? Maybe a moon jar!?

pottery slip splatters on a wooden board at jon williams studio in herefordshirecircular board covered in thick pottery slip at ceramic artists jon williams studio near the malvern hills

Categories
artist Exhibitions garden sculpture Outside

Fish on a stick

Not sure what’s the collective term for a pot full of ceramic fish!?

three pottery fish on metal rods by herefordshire artist jon williams

This shoal will be swimming at the magnificent Sculpture at Kingham Lodge exhibition. 1-9 May 2021. 

Set in 5 acres of beautiful grounds, over 400 sculptures are displayed as you would like to see them in your own garden. Prices start at £10 so there is something for everyone!

The exhibition is part of the wider Oxfordshire Art Week and although entrance is free to Kingham, you do have to book your viewing slot due to covid-19 restrictions.

underbelly of ceramic fish by jon williams

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artist experiments Interactive art work in progress

Blue shell

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artist garden sculpture Outside surface quality

Ancient oak slab

a weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshire

This gnarly ‘ol slab of oak has been gently decaying in the Pottery garden for the last 10 years or so.

It was initially used to display several of my discovery pots – lidded, thrown cylinders containing fresh clay and a note encouraging the ‘discoverer’ to make something and leave it in the pot. Little creativity traps! A few days later, I collected the models, took them back to the Pottery, fired them and exhibited the results online.

The elements and time have worked their magic on the wood and I adore the range of texture and colour of the decomposing timber.

a weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshirea weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshirea weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshirea weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshire

 

 

Categories
artist experiments work in progress

Out of the ashes

Somewhere in this blackened sagger is a little burnt offering in need of  wire wool & wax tlc!

thrown torn and altered pot made on the potter's wheel by ceramic artist jon williamssmoke fired thrown torn and altered pot made on the potter's wheel by ceramic artist jon williamsthrown torn and altered pot made on the potter's wheel by ceramic artist jon williams

Categories
artist Outside work in progress

Antennae

detail of thrown antennae by jon williams

I love making these!!! – so much fun to produce! 🤗🧡

They start life on the potters wheel as thin, solid cones. Texture is added whilst the clay spins and each one finally curled from the tip down.

They’re insect antennae, added to the bodies of sculptural bees, bugs and snails. 🐝 🐜 🐌

That said, I reckon they hold their own as mini-sculptures reminiscent of unfurling ferns or organic iron work.

Categories
artist Exhibitions

Childhood inspiration

children's hands in squidgy clay

Contemporary Ceramics asked me to provide a short piece of writing to accompany the work I sent them. It was suggested I comment on how I got into working with clay:

As a child I loved drawing and messing about with mud. We lived on the edge of a large housing estate and a planning dispute over freshly dug foundations on an empty plot next door, meant the deep trenches remained void of concrete for several years. What a fabulous landscape for myself, brother, and our mates to roam and explore. The walls of the foundations exposed seams of soft yellow clay, perfect for poking fingers and sticks. We dug old bottles, (there must have been a Victorian rubbish dump) squashed balls of clay onto the ends of sticks and hurled them at brick walls (and each other!) to see how long the clay stayed there. They always landed with a satisfying, heavy thud which over time, must have annoyed the hell out of the neighbours as the activity came to an abrupt halt with a proper telling off! Even though the forest of sticks and clay have long since dropped off the wall, the activity has informed and inspired my approach to ceramic practice and my educational/community engagement work.

jcb digging footings for foundationsprepared footings for building work

My art teachers at school were encouraging and although it was a subject in which I excelled; I had no idea about careers in the creative industries. It wasn’t until the age of 15 I encountered the head of my local art-school and in a blinding revelation, realised that ‘art’ could be a job! I studied in Swindon & then Bath, my experience culminating in a 1st class degree in ceramics and 3d design. Whilst at Art School I met my future wife and fellow potter Sarah Monk and in 1994 we moved to Herefordshire, founded Eastnor Pottery and started a family.

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artist Exhibitions Interactive art

Contemporary Ceramics Shop

I have a collection of bee and bug shakers for sale at Contemporary Ceramics in London

The gallery is the shop window for the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain (CPA) and exhibits the greatest collectible names in British ceramics alongside the most up and coming artists of today.

I’ve been a professional member of the CPA ever since the start of my career as a maker, but this is the first time I have exhibited in their bi-monthly Rotation programme.

Although the gallery is currently closed during Lockdown, they have developed an amazing and comprehensive online shop featuring the work of 80 makers for sale at any one time.

Check it out!

Amazing photos by beyondthebeatenpath

bee and bug shakers by jon williamsrear view of bee shaker by jon williams

Categories
artist experiments Outside

Proof of frost damage

frost damaged pot surface by herefordshire potter jon williams

It’s amazing how a terracotta pot can survive outside in the garden for decades. Season after season it is resilient against the very worst the British Winter can hurl at it. And then, all of a sudden, it quite literally falls to pieces.

Frost damage occurs when water, absorbed into the ceramic wall freezes and expands. The force is strong enough to ‘spit out’ little chunks leaving the surface pot marked. Sometimes the force is strong enough to crack the vessel in two!

This button planter made by myself in the 1990’s with all it’s applied half spheres, lived happily and in tact, in the garden here at Eastnor pottery. Then out of the blue, quite recently, after a particularly wet and cold period, the planter shed all it’s buttons. 

I can only deduce that the days of persistent rain had penetrated and saturated the pot. Under normal circumstances the pot would dry naturally, minimising the effect of the freezing water. On this occasion the sudden, plunging temperatures shortly after the deluge was sufficient to reek havoc. The conditions were spot on – a perfect storm!

I like the effect though – The area beneath the buttons resisted the lichen patina. When the buttons popped off, they left a satisfying terracotta polka dot pattern. Nature is the best artist!

frost damaged pot surface by herefordshire potter jon williams

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artist social engagement

Eastnor Pottery in the snow

Our studio Eastnor Pottery looking beautiful in the January snow.

The Pottery is located near the Malvern Hills on the idyllic Herefordshire Eastnor Castle Estate.

I share the space with my wife and fellow potter Sarah Monk. When we’re not working on our own designs, we entertain thousands of aspiring potters on our short classes and weekend courses.You can do an hour and a half, full day or weekend on the potter’s wheel – we have something for everyone and the rural tranquility of Eastnor makes for the perfect creative break.

Although we are currently closed during lockdown, you can book a Spring or Summer pottery experience online. Just visit our website and click on one of the orange buttons.

Eastnor Pottery in the snow the studio of artists jon williams and sarah monk