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Randy James Johnston

Randy Johnston has been making pots in his Wisconsin studio for more than thirty years. He is recognized internationally as an artist and for his many contributions to the development of wood kiln technology in the United States. He is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, where he teaches ceramics and drawing. His work is exhibited internationally and he is the recipient of numerous awards including the Bush Artist Fellowship granted by the Bush foundation in Minnesota and two Visual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Johnston received his MFA from Southern Illinois University and a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota where he studied with Warren MacKenzie. He also studied in Japan at the pottery of Shimaoka Tatsuzo who was a student of Shoji Hamada.

Artist Statement

Wood firing and the types of ceramic pieces which emerge from the process create surprise. The delight in looking at and touching these pieces come from this surprise. This is both an advantage and disadvantage for the artist. It is not a random process, as some might believe: There is a direction toward control within our chosen and learned parameters. It is also an observation, an act of attention, that leads to our growth, acquired abilities and talents for various techniques. Every firing is a new attempt to extend our knowledge of this elusive material and process. The fire is an essential way of marking the surface and transforming the object giving it life. I work because of aesthetic necessity, sharing influences of many times, places, techniques and types of art. I fire my work with wood because of aesthetic choice. This is a huge investment of time and energy, but it is a process justified by its unpredictability, by the mysteries which lie beyond our control. There is a sense in this process of the nourishable accident and often it is the flaw, the scar, the unintended mark that becomes interesting. The fire in and around the pieces facilitates flawed things of beauty, and often the beauty resides in the flaw itself, the accident around which the idea of the piece gathers itself and becomes unique.

Vase Form 15” x 6” x 4”

For Further Information Contact

Randy James Johnston, N 8336 690th Street, River Falls, WI 54022715-425-5596

Photography: Peter Lee Photography