Jack Doherty - Soda Fired Stoneware Collection Autumn 2020
Coinciding with London Craft Week, we are privileged to be exhibiting a very special collection of work by renowned maker Jack Doherty. His role in promoting contemporary ceramic art has taken multiple forms and cannot be overstated; from exhibiting, curating, writing and lecturing on ceramics, to the inclusion of his works in numerous public collections.
He was the last to be born into a lineage of fishermen in Co Derry, Northern Ireland. Growing up close to the Giants Causeway, his childhood was spent in the harbour where his family had lived and worked for generations. He studied at the Ulster College of Art and Design in Belfast, before going on to work at Kilkenny Design Workshops. Between 2008 and 2013, Jack acted as the first Lead Potter and Creative Director at the hugely influential Leach Pottery in St Ives. The recipient of many awards, this year he is a finalist for the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize.
Jack’s works are made to be used and lived with. His desire to create objects with a function can be traced back to a visit to Lucie Rie’s studio as a student. Observing how Lucie co-existed with her works was fundamental to Jack’s relationship with ceramics. As well as prompting his transition from painting, it informed the persevering role of the domestic space and daily life in his creations.
The beautiful rendering of the tableware attest to Jack’s rejection of objects as purely utilitarian. The works are constructed from materials sourced locally to his home in Mousehole, West Cornwall, and glazed in tones of the Cornish landscape. The influence of the sea can be seen even in Jack’s process. The harshness of soda-firing on the surfaces of his designs is akin to the effects of weathering on surfaces of the coast. Soda and water are sprayed into the kiln once it has reached a certain temperature, causing chemical reactions that radically alter each of the vessels’ surfaces uniquely. Everyday objects become figurative, allowing them to function within the home with more significance than a painting or abstract sculpture, just as Jack intended.
“My functional range of domestic stoneware combines contemporary design with traditional processes and materials. It is inspired by journeys and travels both real and imagined. They are for everyday use, reflecting places and culinary adventures from Dublin to Tokyo, Newlyn to New York. They are pots with a sense of vitality and generosity, a bold simplicity of form and my distinctive soda-fired surfaces”.