You are currently viewing Jann Kesby: GIFTED Interview Series

Jann Kesby: GIFTED Interview Series

“A vase fired in the anagama has an unmistakable beauty.  One vessel can have such a variety of surfaces that it appears ‘born’ of the earth. Nothing enlightens me more to see a vase come to life with a bunch of Australian native flora arranged in it.”


How did you get to where you are today?

Dedication, passion and hard work. I initially started out at night class in the 1980s, then became increasingly curious, so enquired around and found an apprenticeship as a production thrower. During these years, I was introduced to wood firing and from then on I knew that was how I wanted to fire my work. I now have two wood-fired kilns, a bourry box and an anagama.

What separates your work from the work of other ceramic artists?

I possess an inquisitiveness for local materials. I make my own clay bodies and introduce local materials to give it that more unique local aesthetic. I fire my kilns with wood which is acquired locally.  I then use the ash that is generated in the firing process and turn it into glaze.


Where do you draw inspiration from?

My passion for travel and seeking out the history of ceramics from East to West has had an immense influence on my career in clay. I want my work to stand the test of time as has been the case over millennium. I feel that, over time, an awareness of one’s environment, the subtle nuances of where one lives, has an impact on forms, glazes and surface decoration. I want my work to reflect these qualities from sunshiny days to overcast, rainy weather and everything in between.

In the past, have you given someone your own work as a gift?

Yes. I often gift my work for special friends for special occasions.

I feel that in this consumerist, materialistic society we live in today, so much is mass-produced that it lacks the uniqueness and warmth of the handmade object.  As we go about our daily rituals, whether it is having our morning cuppa, breakfast or that special feast, it means so much more to set a table with handmade plates, bowls, drinking vessels etc. To be able to gift someone with something you have created with deep passion is a unique gift.


Why are you looking forward to Christmas this year? 

Christmas is a time for family and friends to gather and to celebrate life, gifting special handmade objects of beauty.


Tell me about a great gift you have received.

I have a birthday right on Christmas, so gifts often cross over!

This gift of a creative life is a constant reminder for me to stay true to my passion, family, friends and environment around me.

Why are you looking forward to having your work displayed as part of GIFTED at Makers Gallery? 

I feel very honoured when I am supported by people who gain great pleasure from using works that I create.


What’s the next step in your career? Do you have a clear goal in mind? A dream project?

Looking forward to more making and firing of my wood kilns.  Every time I open a kiln, there are many treasures to be found and lessons to be learnt.  Life is one big dream project as life as a potter!


Jann is a NSW-based potter. Her work is currently being featured as part of GIFTED at Makers Gallery.

GIFTED will run until COB Christmas Eve. 

Click here to view more of Jann’s work.

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