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John Shirley

John Shirley contemporary ceramics magazine

View John Shirley’s works featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

Read the interview with John Shirley, Ceramic Technique / Soluble salts - April 2011

"Born in South Africa in 1948, I have been working in ceramics since 1970. Having always been drawn to its translucent and ethereal qualities I worked mainly in porcelain for a number of years. My current work is in Bone China which due to its exceptional translucency seems to be the perfect material for the expression of my ideas. The work is decorated with a combination of wax resist and soluble metallic salts, which permeate the body and create a ‘watercolor’ effect.

Early in 2000 I was employed at the TWR (now University of Johannesburg) and I enrolled for my B Tech Ceramic Design. It was during this period that my experimentation with bone china began, and I produced a body of extreme whiteness with excellent translucency. My early work in bone china was pierced and sandblasted. On completion of my B Tech, for which I gained a distinction in ceramic practice, I started exploring and using soluble salts.

This still occupies me today and it seems that after all the experimentation I am finally making  the work I want to be making. I find the soluble salts to be so different to the  oxides with which one usually colours ceramics, not only  their subtlety but also the way they gently permeate the surface of the work creating a watercolour effect. For this work I have garnered several accolades. Two of the most important of these being; in 2008 I won an award of merit at the Corobrick National Ceramics Biennale held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and I was honored to have a piece of work selected for the 5th World Ceramic Biennale, in Korea 2009.

In 2010 I was accepted as a member of the International Academy of Ceramics, and was also honored as a Fellow of Ceramics Southern Africa.

My commitment is to the pursuit of excellence in the work, and in this the importance of the journey exceeds that of the destination.” John Shirley

→ John Shirley will also be featured in the first printed issue of Ceramics Now Magazine.

John Shirley's C.V. (resume) - View his works

1997 - Gillian Bickell Gallery, Johannesburg, Exhibition of Porcelain
1996 - Fellows in Hyde Park, Exhibition of Crystal Glazes
1995 - Les Tapis De Orient in Rosebank, Exhibition of Crystal Glazes
1981 - South African Embassy, Japan, Exhibition of Crystal Glazes
1980 - Gallery International , Cape Town, Exhibition of Crystal Glazed Bottles
1979 - The Hand Craft Gallery, Johannesburg, Exhibition of Crystal Glazes
1972 - Potters, Rivonia, Johannesburg, Exhibition of Stoneware

2010 - Grande Provence, Franschhoek, Ceramics S A National Exhibition 2010
2010 - Museum Africa, Johannesburg, Ceramics S A Regional Exhibition 2010
2010 - Association of Arts Gallery, Pretoria, African Landscapes in Clay
2010 - Olievenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, Free State Ceramics 2010, Guest Exhibitor
2009 - Artisan Contemporary Gallery, Durban ‘Collection 2009’
2009 - Edoardo Villa Gallery, University of Pretoria, Ceramics S A Regional Exhibition 2009
2009 - Objekt, Johannesburg, ‘Ceramic Convergence’
2009 - Icheon World Ceramic Center, 5th World Ceramic Biennale, Korea
2008 - Gallerie Burkhalter, Johannesburg, ‘Who Am I?’
2008 - University of Johannesburg Gallery, Ceramics S A National Exhibition 2008
2008 - Sally Thompson Gallery, Johannesburg, ‘The Magic of Making’
2005 - Association of Arts Gallery, Pretoria, Ceramics S A National Exhibition 2005
2005 - Gallerie Burkhalter, Johannesburg, ‘Fanning the Flames’
2005 - Association of Arts Gallery, Pretoria, ‘Past Students Present Work’, TWR Alumni
2004 - Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, Ceramics S A National Exhibition 2004
2003 - Upstairs @ Bamboo, Johannesburg, TWR Graduate Exhibition
2002 - Gallerie Burkhalter, Johannesburg, with Elsbeth Burkhalter
2000 - Kim Sacks Gallery, Johannesburg, ‘Black and White by Hand’.
1999 - Gallerie Burkhalter, Johannesburg, ‘Less is More’
1998 - Gallerie Burkhalter, Johannesburg, Inaugural Exhibition.
1984 - Beuster Skolimowski Gallery, Pretoria, ‘Opposite Directions’with Elsbeth Burkhalter
1983 - Neal Sacks Gallery, Pietermaritzburg, with Elsbeth Burkhalter and Ian Glenny

2010 - Awarded Fellowship of Ceramics Southern Africa
2009 - Diploma of Honor, 5th World Ceramic Biennale, Korea
2008 - Corobrick Merit Award, Ceramics S A National Exhibition, 2008
2005 - PSMO Award, Ceramics S A Regional Exhibition, 2005
2004 - N A C Award, Ceramics S A National Exhibition, 2004
2003 - Tim Morris Bursary Award
1974 - Highly Commended Corobrick National Exhibition

Visit the artist’s website and his blog.

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