Pamela Johnson-Howe

Pamela Johnson-Howe

In 1996 I looked far and wide for tile for our bathroom floor that fit a vision in my head. Needless to say, it didn’t exist, and, with encouragement from a tile artist, I made it myself. A profound love of clay was born. Tile making, carving, hand-building, and wheel throwing have given me a respect for, and an understanding of, “delayed gratification.” It can take weeks to get a piece from a lump of clay to a finished, twice- fired product. There can be brutal disappointment, but also far-exceeded expectations when that glaze-kiln opens.

I work primarily with a porcelain and stoneware blend clay. I begin most of my pieces on the potter’s wheel, but they become unique when I start the carving process. Most designs are carved without any pre-planning, making it possible for the design to evolve from the form instead of being applied to the form. The carving process is time consuming, but I find even my tessellation designs to be almost meditative and relaxing to create.

In my efforts to simplify my life, it has become essential that useful things be beautiful and beautiful things be useful. I can see no reason to drink from a nondescript cup or store sugar in a nondescript canister when you can use a piece that feeds the eye, feels wonderful to the touch, and functions well.

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