Colour me beautiful: Jo Connell’s way with clay

We asked artists to share with us some of the thoughts and processes that go into their work, and leading potter and ceramicist Jo Connell very kindly obliged…

I use coloured clays because I like the idea of making from a flat slab of decorated clay, much as you might approach wallpapering or dressmaking.

I found something that worked for me and stuck with it, making changes along the way…


Jo Connell – Jug

To begin with I used motifs derived from Art Deco fabrics & wallpapers, later I tried to develop the idea to make it looser and had some success with stretching techniques.

At first all work was stoneware. It looks great when salt glazed but this was out of my reach so I had to use an electric kiln and it’s hard to make the surface look lively.

Blue flask

Jo Connell – Blue Flask

In trying to lower the firing temperature (better for the planet, less stress on the pots and kiln) I found a glaze that reacts well with copper and recent work has therefore been in the turquoise range.


Jo Connell – Jugs

But it’s time to move on again, and find a new direction. It’s true to say that one lifetime just isn’t enough.

Jo’s stunning ceramics are on show at our  Open, which closes this weekend! Visit on Saturday to see her work, and more than 200 other inspiring artworks.


Jo Connell taught ceramics and 3D design in schools and colleges for many years, and she continues to teach courses at West Dean College in Sussex and for various groups up and down the country. She was elected as an associate of the RBSA in 2002 and as a full member in 2004. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at the House of Commons, the Terránia Festival de Cerámica in Spain, the Ceramics Biennale in Belgium, ArtHouse open studios in Leicester and in many RBSA exhibitions.

She has published two books The Potters’ Guide and Colouring Clay and several articles in the field of ceramics. She is a member of the Craft Potters Association.

A longer version of this article first appeared at the website of the Contemporary Ceramics Centre in London.

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