Jeff Green | Apr 23, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - April 23, 2009 There’s a new potter in townby Julie Druker
Local potter Johanna Jansen at her studio in Sharbot Lake
Like many artists in the area, potter Johanna Jansen gets her inspiration from objects and the nature that surround her. And she is lucky in that she does not have to travel very far; her studio is located in her home on the shore of Sharbot Lake.
Originally from Alberta, Jansen graduated from the University of Calgary with a BFA and then later from Carleton University with a Masters in Canadian Studies in Art and Culture. She got into clay seriously in 1998 at the Gloucester Pottery School in Ottawa where she began taking classes in hand building and throwing.
Later, she participated in an intensive workshop at the home of well-known potter Jim Thomson and it was there that she was exposed to and fell in love with the mysterious wonders of raku firing. She was also encouraged to explore her sculptural ideas.
One of Johanna’s recent sculptural pieces includes a decaying fence that lies amongst the remains of decaying tree trunks, a work that was a direct result of studying the objects and nature that surround her.
In these sculptural pieces, Johanna textures the clay surfaces to resemble both natural and manmade forms and relies on the raku firing process to emphasize these qualities. Other work by Jansen includes a line of thrown functional pottery, plates, bowls, lidded jars and vases. These pieces are glazed and electric fired and can be used every day in the home.
Her functional pieces are simple, elegant and the temoku glaze she applies to them highlights their wheel-thrown qualities. On some pieces she adds brushwork decoration by applying washes of rutile and iron oxide on top of the glaze.
It was when Jansen and her husband Andre purchased their home in Sharbot Lake four years ago that Jansen decided to incorporate a pottery studio into the plans. She designed the space, a neat and tidy studio with everything that she needs to create her work and with ample windows offering a gorgeous view of the lake.
After her pieces are formed, she glazes and fires them in an electric kiln which is set up in the garage. Last year she built a raku kiln on her property down by the lake. She incorporates paper, pine needles and saw dust into the firing process which gives her finished pieces the smoky, iridescent and crackle qualities that only raku glazes and firing can give.
Jansen recently joined the Land O’ Lakes Artists Guild and the Inroads Studio Tour, and she also sells her work directly from her home. She is hoping to do more local shows this year and will be participating in the LOLAG show in Westport later next month. Johanna can be contacted at 613-279-2671.