Click to see Jessica Joslin demonstrate throwing a pot
Meet Jessica Joslin
Her interest in ceramics has an easy to identify source: an unsophisticated and innocent love of clay, which she has handled and worked with since she was a child, lingering in the workshop of her parents – a remote cabin tucked away in the New Forest.
One can picture a young Jessica watching her parents as they worked on orders from the British Museum gift shop, getting in the way as she discovered the same tools and materials that would allow her to give vent to creations of her own.
It is easy also to imagine her wonder at the transformations that took place in that dim alchemical workroom; her appreciation of the finished object from which she would soon be eating beans or drinking tea.
Between the workshop and her home was the Forest: we would be turning a blind eye to the beauty and magic taking place, just as much outside as inside, if we did not pay heed to this influence on the formative artist’s creations. The attempt is made by every artist at least to match the work of nature.
We see in her work the floral patterns of the Forest she passed every day on her wonderings, and those from her parents’ garden. Rich colours and fancy bows display her attempt to capture the splendidness of the surrounding flora, and, even, to better it with the grandeur and buoyancy of some of her glazes.
This is obviously a girl who cannot get enough of what she thinks is pretty.
Her appreciation of the simple objects she saw metamorphosing between her father’s or mother’s hands – spinning round on the wheel until they took the shape of a plate or vase that would appear in her kitchen or living room, or on a shop display – has never waned.
Indeed, it is this love of the craft that makes the artist designer want to make a gift of it so that she can share it with others.
More interested in the idea of decorative objects, Jessica unashamedly calls attention to the things in themselves: their very decorativeness becoming a theme of the work.
Her play on appearances manifests itself most explicitly in the gift-plates that have their wrapping embellished onto their surface.
Drawing upon the tradition of ribbon plates, which feature ribbons tied through apertures around the plates’ edge, Jessica further relieves her plates of their possible functionality by puncturing holes and placing the bows at their centres, demanding, even, that they be appreciated as they are and not appropriated for some other use.
Jessica’s use of customary and traditional patterns and designs undoubtedly reveals a certain nostalgia, while her treatment of these proves that she is always experimenting and looking for new combinations.
In her work are the vicissitudes found between nature and the man made, the countryside and the city, and the pastoral and the metropolitan that bear testament to the clay’s journey from the earth to the showroom.