Jake Johnson’s Work
For me, working for myself and making things with my hands makes me feel more grounded and perhaps 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 my interest in nature and biology. I try to make works that engage users visually and tactfully, while also fulfilling a purpose for the user. While my work has progressed, I think that feeling of animation and energy has remained constant, and it is this which I view as the defining characteristic of what I produce.
Jake Johnson’s Process
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 starts out as symmetrical vessels but is often altered or cut and then sometimes re-assembled to make new shapes. I find that the potter’s 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 keeps 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 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.
About Jake Johnson
I have been working in clay for about fifteen years, since I first took a class in college. Since then I moved to Pennsylvania from Illinois, earned an M.F.A. in ceramics from Penn State, and I now live in Waynesboro, Virginia working full time as a studio potter. My work has appeared in several publications, including Clay Times magazine and Lark Books’ 500 series, as well as more than 40 juried and invitational exhibitions.