Clay Artist Wendy Jackson of Newton

Clay artist Wendy Jackson of Newton took a shine to firing pots in a wood-fired kiln while helping to build one with the New Hampshire Potter’s Guild a few years ago. The smoke and the random beauty created by the extreme heat and wood ash got her hooked on the process.

Some of Jackson’s work is wheel thrown, but the majority of her vases and bottles are slab built from porcelain clay. After shaping a vase from a rolled slab, it is allowed to dry until leather-hard. At this point, she is able to cut in designs with carving tools and finally add texture with impressions of seashells or coral. Her carved designs of turtles and aquatic plants  float around the circumference for an 360-degree underwater view. Additional glazes and the wood-fired kiln assist in the serendipity of the final product.

For her tree silhouette bottles, Jackson likes to add a slip glaze — a thin mixture of clay and a colorant — that is removed along with the clay underneath in the carving process. The final result is a sharp contrast between the plain clay body and the slip glaze, which has turned black in the kiln. Jackson also participates in group firings at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art. She is a member of the New Hampshire Potter’s Guild and was juried into the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen three years ago.

Jackson says she “carves what she sees.” Trips to Mexico, Hawaii and Grand Cayman Turtle Farm have fine-tuned her marine inspiration. She also credits local legend Al Jaegar of Deerfield for introducing her to hand building and layering slip glazes.

Jackson’s work is available at League of New Hampshire Craftsmen shops in North Conway, Center Sandwich, Nashua and Concord. Year-round, her work is available in Kingston at White Cedar Farm’s farmstand and, on November 7 and 8 Studio 550 in Manchester will host the NH Potter’s Guild for NH Open Doors.


Categories: Local Artisans