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Julia Janeway platter

Julia Abbott Janeway

Pumphouse Pottery

I think my work will always be about my love for story, whether it be the story of how the pot was made or the illustrative capturing of a moment in time — the way a magpie alights on a fence, the description of a flying fish in a 1902 nature book, the sharpness of a swallow’s wings against the sky as it dives.

My mother was a potter and art teacher, but although I grew up making art, I concentrated on the written word in school, eventually earning a PhD in literature and writing in 1994. That same year my mother died from cancer, leaving me her well-used wheel, kiln, and a series of mysterious glaze recipes. It took nearly ten years and several moves later to see what I had inherited. I found myself in southern Oregon, teaching literature but connecting with Clayfolk artists who showed me how to shape the fog of grief into the delight of working with clay. During those years, my studio was a 6X6 foot pumphouse where I worked every spare moment, making pots and competing with the pump and waterlines for space. My kiln was outside. As a result, I like to say that my apprenticeship in ceramics was literally affected by the rolling of the seasons and the events of the natural world around me.

The illustration-aspect of my work borrows heavily from books, particularly the fascination I have with woodcut and lithograph prints. I often incorporate words into my designs and layer engobes (colored slips) or underglazes.  Each piece is hand carved from drawings or patterns of my own. Unless otherwise stated, my work is dishwasher, oven, and food-safe, although handwashing may be recommended in some cases.

If I say there is a story to everything, I am also thinking about the journey art takes as it passes from one person to another. And so I hope that the pieces I create travel on, telling new tales in the hearts and minds of others.


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Julia Janeway plates
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