Mary Johnson Ceramics

made by hand, drawn from life

Pottery is often used to express political positions. As a slogan on a mug, or in a more subtle use of material and decorative form to express social allegiance.

mermaid in pollution

mermaid in pollution

Porcelain for example,has been associated with upper class power and money. It is expensive to produce and requires high firing methods. The material secrets where closely guarded by the Eastern potters who created it. It was patronised by Royalty and aspired to by gentry.

Slip decorated earthenware is associated with working class production. The pottery of ordinary people expressing their own interests and concerns. It is a truly democratic material. Anybody can dig it up and fire it with little cost. This is a main reason reason that I choose to work with it.

After the Expulsion Based on a Thomas Toft platter.

After the Expulsion
Based on a Thomas Toft platter.

Red clay is full of imperfection and life, it is not exclusive and forms a link to my own working class roots and passion for gardening. It is the nearest thing to mud that I can use.

These plates make use of traditional decoration seen on 17th Century Thomas Toft platters. They have looked from a contemporary perspective.

Toft’s mermaid is stressed by a crowded life amongst all that pollution, and Eden has been allowed to go wild now Adam and Eve are gone. Into a post apocalyptic state.


I am teaching new adult leisure classes in ceramics. Pottery for beginners and improves, at Joseph Wright college in Derby. The class runs on Thursday evenings from 6.00 - 8.00 pm. Contact the college for enrolment if you want to join in. It is fun class with no assessments or pressure, just time to play with clay.



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