Jonathan grew up with his father’s collection of Ming porcelain from Shanghai bought in 1948 and narrow strip woven textiles from Sierra Leone from the early 1940s , which were used as curtains in the family living room. Pots and textiles were normal part of everyday life. Jonathan’s mother ran an all women architecture practice in Notting Hill, so the idea of design was part of his childhood normality. Discovering pottery at school, courtesy of Gordon Baldwin, he received a BA in Archaeology at Cambridge, but opted for the life of a craftsman in the countryside. The outdoors has always had a gravitational pull for many people and it is no accident that he refines all his own clay for a natural feel in the work, firing all the pots with wood. Seven-thousand-year-old cooking pots from China and West African textile designs exert a strong guiding hand on his ceramic language, coupled with a particular interest in whether pots work well in their intended roles.
The raw clay is dug and “blunged”, i.e. mixed with water into a soup and sieved, then dried to a malleable condition. Once thrown, the pots are immediately decorated while still turning on the wheel with homemade roulettes of fired clay, to print the surfaces with pattern. Having poured over the glazes and done the drying, cobalt oxide on foam rubber stamps cut from sheets can be applied, along with other colours to produce the effects desired. Wood firing will then complete the process, giving a subtle “flavour” to the work and connecting the pots to the countryside that produced them.