Ceramics has been in Jon’s family for at least five generations. The earliest records show a pottery at Hoo in Kent dating from 1834, and Jon’s great-great-uncle Edward Baker worked at the well-known Upchurch pottery in Kent from 1909 (and later owned it). Each generation has produced its own particular style of work.
Jon completed a degree in ceramics at Bristol in 1985, having specialised in thrown ware and glaze development. While at college he was inspired by the pages of the Wedgwood Creamware catalogues from the late 19th century, and – in stark contrast to their classical lines – cartoon drawings. He also spent time building kilns and experimenting with wood-fired salt glaze. He used these glazes to good effect on the teapot forms that became an obsession for many years.
After spending time working as a college technician, travelling, landscape gardening and other short-term jobs, Jon returned to his first love of making pots in his spare time, while also training to be a teacher. He has taught on and off ever since – he currently teaches ceramics from time to time at West Dean college in Sussex. More recently he has run workshops for the blind and visually impaired students at New College, Worcester.
Although his primary interest was always the wheel-thrown object, it soon became clear to Jon that he would never make a living from selling teapots. Drawing inspiration from the collaborative work of his parents, which combined classical vessels with mythical and imaginary creatures, he started making animals. His first piece was a pig, which he says, seemed to emerge quite naturally. He soon moved on to sheep, chickens, cows and horses, constantly refining and developing the form.
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