Mary Johnson Ceramics

made by hand, drawn from life



Yesterday I had a conversation with a gallery about the colour of work.

The favourite colour for the gallery, in terms of sales, is blue and white. A lot of the work that I love most is yellow, brown, red or black , or at least has a lot of this colour range within it.
‘What is your favourite colour?’ actually needs a very complicated answer.
In a lecture on ‘Iron in Nature’, delivered by John Ruskin in 1858 ( published in the two paths in 1859 and excerpted in the Faber book of Science as ‘In praise of rust’) Ruskin explains the fundamental importance and inherent beauty of oxidised iron in our environment.It is part of all living systems, earth. blood and mineral, making up the ground that nourishes us.(Jo Marchant Guardian science writing)Iron oxide creates the deep browns and warm reds in the clay I use in my work. It gives glazes a rich honey yellow. reminding me of traditional English slip ware, with its history and working class roots. It has a depth and fluidity that no synthetic colour can achieve.It warms and softens, collecting in deep dark pools and sometimes shinning like gold.It transfers from the ground into all lifa on the surface of the earth, enriching and nourishing it. So Rust is my favourite colour.

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