Notes from the Master Potter – Chris Johnson – September 2014

On a radio programme in the 1950′ my father, James, was depicted as a Toby Jug. It described him perfectly – warm, generous, full of charm, lover of life. What it did not depict was that he was the outstanding Potter of his generation. I am indebted to him for all that he taught me of this wonderful profession.

He believed the only way to fully understand the ceramic business was to be profficient in every department whether it be in making, decorating or in the laboratory.

I recall with acute embarrassment the first thing he gave me was a smock, a pair of Wellington Boots and a shovel and told me to blend some clays with water in a blunger (a mixer). What he did not tell me how critical it was to apply both in a certain proportion.

Within half an hour the blunger was stuck solidly with a clinging goo. “Well, boy, ” he said as he never remembered names,  ” you will only learn if you dig it out “. I arrived home absolutely shattered but what a lesson to learn on my first day.