Qualifications

Diploma in Ceramic Design at Technicon in Johannesburg, Advanced Diploma in Ceramic Design at Technicon in Johannesburg

JACK THE POTTER

Character

Blending his two passions of ceramics and landscaping, Jack's ceramic pieces often resemble elements of nature.  In particular, his love of aloes are reflected in many a vessel, looking at home either as a conversation piece or as part of a garden setting. 

From simplistic maquettes to larger abstract pieces, much of Jack's pottery illustrates his quirky sense of humour and love of hand built objects.

Background

In his teens growing up in South Africa, Jack liked the feel and the way he was able to mould clay into interesting creations.  He soon realised he had a natural affinity with clay.  Discoveries through experimenting with fire to transform clay into ceramics lead him on a path through a variety of diciplines in the ceramic industry.  Starting with studio pottery during school years giving life to many a 'kitch' piece gifted to family and unsuspecting friends including an odd exhibition.  By the mid eighties Jack received a 'highly commended' for a sawdust fired schulpture from APSA (Association of potters of South Africa) at the anual regional exhibition.

Jack set off to study ceramics at Wits Tech in the early nineties and for his thesis and with the help from Thijs Nel and the Felix trust he succesfully built a house out of clay on his family farm and then used it as a kiln and fired it up to 1000°C from the inside. 

His earning career started at a ceramics factory making earthenware slipcast interior design products and Jack expanded the range introducing Tea Ware.  Searching for more experience, the brick industry (Cullinan Bricks), gave him a go with developing bricks from sludge high in calcium, a water purification by-product, where the clay particles seperated from the drinking water and Jack used this to make multiple perferated extruded bricks.

Developing wall and floor tiles became a natural part of the evolution with employment at Johnson Tiles, and once migrated to Australia, Jack was involved with the making of decorative tiles at Decoramics.  The ceramic manufactoring industry did not offer much scope for artistic expression and for the last decade Jack hibernated back into his studio in Eltham while sharing his time with a career in hoticulture and more specifically in landscape design and construction. 

Today with an "every piece is individual" philosophy, Jack prefers to use gas over electric kilns and believes it is the unpredictability of flame and heat that always presents an element of surprise and most impotantly to free him from the thousands of identical first grade tiles, bricks and tea sets.