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The exploration of form and surface within my work is an expression of cross cultural contemporary ceramics, strongly influenced by traditional pottery techniques.  Experiences in nature and my study abroad give me endless inspiration.  Each design is influenced by my experiences apprenticing in China, through the JCI-WVU International Academy of Ceramic Art,  through my extended residency in the Penland area at the Energy Xchange, and in my graduate studies at West Virginia University. 

Most significantly, my travels and studies in Jingdezhen and Yixing have informed my subject matter.  Tea service and the ritual vessels of the Chinese tea ceremony, dating back 500 years to the Ming Dynasty, are steeped within me now and are revealed in my recent work.  The intimacy and power of sharing tea and the vessels used to store tea, brew tea, and drink tea challenge me to create soft, delicate, and lasting forms.  The intimacy of holding a cup to one’s lips and the relationship that develops with a special teapot over years of use and care are significant to me.  A successful pot to me is one that lasts over time and reveals itself slowly and continually with every use.  

While the miniature scale, intimacy, and balance of the teapot challenge me in one direction, I also enjoy working on a larger scale, making decorative urns, jars, and boxes, inspired by early Tang and Song Dynasty clay, and Shang Dynasty bronzes, temples, and pagodas.  I manipulate scale and proportion to attain gesture and impact within a piece.  My work represents a strong wheel throwing foundation, often altering thrown forms and assembling parts.  Handbuilding with hard and soft slabs is also part of my vocabulary of form and technique, much of which was learned from working with Yixing teapot makers and sculptors Luo Xiaoping, Shao Junya, and Gu Mei Chun.  

In my glaze surfaces I am inspired by the rhythms, tones, and textures found in the natural environment.  I enjoy brushwork with slips and blue underglaze, contrasting brightly ornamented calligraphy inspired painting with the bare soda-fired claybody. Layered slips, glazes, and overglazes, as well as actual textured surfaces in the clay, create landscapes and references to lichen, gourds, flower buds, fish and streams.  I strive to bring a bit of the natural world into the homes of the users and collectors of my pots.  These rich and subtle layers of surface are achieved through the handling of the material itself and are enhanced by atmospheric wood and soda kilns.  The firing process lends organic nature inspired hues and textures from the wood and sodium glaze I introduce at high temperatures. All work is fired to 2400 degrees and is very durable and food safe. 

I hope to achieve a lasting sense of discovery and purpose in each piece. 

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Jason  Bohnert