We eagerly anticipate the participation of Janel Jacobson in our 2017 "16hands Fall Studio Tour". She will be traveling here from Minnesota to share her work with us.
The joy of using pots every day goes hand in hand with loving to make useful pots for others to embrace in their daily lives. My current work focuses primarily on wheel-throwing using porcelain clay, and occasionally using stoneware clay, to make useful wares such as drinking vessels, bowls, plates and an assortment of pots that can be used in the kitchen for food preparation. The feel and the smell of the clay, the beauty of the wet pots, the variety of glaze results, and the making of new forms are all a part of why pottery-making is a compelling life pursuit for me. Knowing that others enjoy using those pots makes it all even better.
The porcelain glazing this year explores a bright white glaze, also modified to make pale blue and pale green versions, having a soft, satin-feeling surface that is contrasted by the use of colored clear glazes on the same piece. The stoneware pots are glazed with our studio glazes that my husband, Will Swanson, uses for his pots: shino, carbon trap, white shino, my old 7-White from my early years, and occasionally a black/temmoku. The white that I use on the porcelain, and its soft blue and green variations, are also being applied to the stoneware with very interesting and pleasantly touchable results. Everything is high-fired in a gas reduction-atmosphere kiln.
Tom and Maggie participated in our spring tour May 6th and 7th 2017
When I reflect on what pots I make and why I make them, growing up in Minnesota is really the source. Having a great public education where ceramics was offered as an elective and being exposed to places like the Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art and the St. Croix Pottery Tour. My pots are just riff on the wonderful pottery tradition of Minnesota. As my work evolves from different outside sources such as Piet Mondrian, the Bauhaus movement or Lucie Rie, I just put my Minnesota spin on these other sources that I find compelling.
My current work is made of red earthenware and fired to Cone 3. It often has a small detail of color blocking or graphic. I enjoy the confines of minimalism and I would describe my work as minimal. I try to give my minimal work depth through layering. First the scraped brick clay, second the liquid and rich skin of the slip added and the last flat bit of color.
I make hand-built earthenware vessels that draw on the quiet, minimal forms of basic function, such as basins, troughs and baskets. Surfaces emphasize the subtleties of material, process and firing as the primary decorative elements – dragged grog, finger marks, the layering of slips and terra sigillata, and the dulled whites and blacks that come from reduction firing at a low temperature.
Smaller pieces like plates, cups, mugs and bowls are wheel-thrown, then scraped and pared down in form and reduction fired. Most recently I have been pulling from my long love of textiles to add pattern and color to this smaller work.