A Potter’s Life.
If you live in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, or you are visiting there, you must go and see Jonathan Hook at his self-designed and built studio and gallery atop a hill with fabulous views, just outside Denmark.
Jonathan is a prolific potter, a master craftsman.
Read on …
What is your craft? How do you like to describe yourself?
I’m an artist that works with clay producing tableware and sculptural works. I make and exhibit my work in a studio and gallery that I designed and built myself.
Your studio – where and what is your studio/workspace like?
I’ve been on this property for 38 years. I grew out of my old studio, so I decided to put together a project that encompasses a restaurant, gallery and a studio that is 900 square metres. I’ve just built the new 500 square metre studio that I’m in now. I’m still pinching myself about it. It’s a work in progress, the kilns have only recently been moved in and I am still setting up and catching up on production. I’m currently making tableware predominantly.
Which of your tools do you love the most and why?
My tools are my hands. I don’t use a lot of tools. My style of work is very much a turned product, so apart from my hands I’d say my turning tools would be my most favoured tool.
Your inspiration – what really pumps your creative heart?
My inspiration predominantly comes from landscapes. I’m a landscape painter and interpreter. I moved to the Great Southern 40 odd years ago after I studied. This region is a source of amazing inspiration for me.
I have been looking at this landscape for a very long time and previously had a love/hate relationship with it. How does one respond and interpret such a vast and diverse landscape? I want my work to transpose the essence of the landscape into a written, drawn and sculpted work. In a way, I don’t think this has been done in a very intellectual, inspirational way yet.
What was the spark that made you choose this particular medium?
I had a love of clay from a very early age. Ceramics is a combination of the arts and science. It’s very much a geological process, there’s a lot of chemistry involved.
Your working style – how do you like to start on a project and then progress it? Do you stick to a working schedule 9-5 or flex around a bit? Do you play loud music? Are your pets welcome in your space?
I work on a lot of stuff at the same time because it’s that kind of medium. Nothing happens immediately. It’s a two steps forward, three backward kind of process. Even with tableware it can be a twelve month process developing the style and glazes. I work pretty much 9-5 and I listen to all sorts of stuff on the radio while I’m working from ABC Radio National to Triple J.
What are you working towards right now?
I’m working on finishing building my studio and I’m back to production this week. I’m doing three jobs at the moment but I’m doing my best to get back to my studio and start making.
If you could land the dream commission/exhibition/project, what would it be?
I don’t generally do commission work and I exhibit in my gallery every day. I hope I inspire people that way. I moved away from exhibiting in other people’s galleries early in my career to having my own gallery.
[Collected July 2020. This is a standard set of questions that we ask of all our guest presenters and ‘makers of the week’. They are deliberately low-key.]