By Jo Millar
Original handmade artwork
White stoneware, raku glaze with regular glaze, 'petalled' neck
In simple terms, Jo's vessels are all coil pots, handmade individually and built up in layers, then carefully turned and shaped by hand. They are in white or black stoneware.
But, like this carefully-contoured vessel, they are also stand-out, statement pieces which - with the elongated process of forming, drying, firing and glazing - emerge gradually, over many weeks.
This gorgeous form has extra impact, thanks to the series of handmade 'bulges' around its wide circumferance and the pale celadon-green petal shapes at its neck. Formed in response to nature, plant or human, this work and others resemble swollen seed pods, shells and organic shapes, sometimes with overtly female openings, vertebrae-like nodules and lips.
Mainly, they are delicate, soft and sinuous in contour but, occasionally, they are more confrontational in their stance and detail, with spikes or sharp nodules or vertebrae. In this way, they appear like plants protecting themselves through natural prickles and points – and, in fact, Jo is heavily influenced by the spikey conker cases that fall to the ground in autumn and yield the soft conker shapes inside.
“I respond to each piece as I build it and interact with the clay. As well as the undulation of natural form, I am also driven by colour and texture and, as a result, my work is varied in outcome as well as scale.”
ABOUT JO MILLAR
Jo graduated in Ceramics from Bath Spa University and pursued a career in secondary and adult education.
Deeply passionate about the future of the Arts, she has held various posts in education. She established herself as a highly regarded teacher of Sculpture and Ceramics and, currently, is Head of Art in a prestigiou