Jane Herold - Ceramicist

Jane Herold - Ceramicist

Tell us about your craft, do you have a special method or use particular materials that set you apart? 
I make pottery much the way I was trained in Cornwall, England where I apprenticed to the renowned potter Michael Cardew. My glazes are made from ashes, which leads to a nice amount of variation in the glaze surfaces. They are not too shiny, but reflect light in a soft way. Which makes the food look good! With the exception of some vases everything I make is intended for food. Plates, bowls, cups, serving dishes, pitchers, teapots.

What keeps you inspired?
I make dishes for a lot of top notch chefs and they have certainly inspired me over the years. We’ll collaborate to create specific plates for specific foods, and they’ve brought me many good ideas. They’ve also raised my awareness about what a plate really has to do. It’s a canvas to show off food.
Throwing pottery on the wheel is an orgy of shape-making. The subtleties of shape keep me inspired. I’m always trying to get it just right, or maybe deciding to try by not trying, work loosely and see what happens. I actually get excited over the shape of a bowl, the belly of a jug, the swing of a handle. It’s sculptural form, in a utilitarian guise, that we all tend to take for granted. It feels good to wake up that sensibility.

Do any aspects of your early life influence your current work?
As a kid I always wanted to be outside, preferably up a tree or in water. I think the urge to move, to be DOING something, propelled me toward pottery early on. You couldn’t ask for a better match between the urge to create something and the satisfaction of repetition, than pottery. No two pots are identical, there’s creative effort in every single one, but the flow from making many at a time feels good to me.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Deep contentment is my idea of perfect happiness. Good clay, no physical aches or pains, freedom from financial worry. And to be among beautiful things, be they flowers, an old house, or good pottery. Hot tea in a good mug. Even better if shared with a friend.

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