About Jo

Jo Connell

portrait-fp.jpgI have run a ceramics studio ever since I’ve had a place to house one, and for my day job I taught in schools and colleges, mostly in the Midlands. Now I teach very occasional courses at West Dean College in Sussex and give talks/demonstrations and specialist workshops to interested groups.

In over forty years of working with clay I have never tired of it, always striving to push the boundaries of this extremely versatile material. Clay is a very tactile substance and can imitate so many surfaces – it can look and feel like plastic, leather, skin, stone, concrete… and it can look but not feel like fish scales, fur, fabric, leaves, water. Achieving such effects presents great challenges but they are hard to resist.

My ideas stem from the natural world - elements of landscape, seascape, rock strata and plant structure can be clearly recognised in my work. I enjoy travel, and certain influences are clear to see – tree ferns in New Zealand, cacti in Southern Europe, eroded rock in Arizona… I seek to echo and interpret some of the qualities observed in nature using a language of expression acquired through years of practice.

My special interest is in the experimental use of coloured clays, which I manipulate by twisting, laminating and distressing, to create exciting effects, the surface pattern being integral with the form. This produces surfaces of an intriguingly tactile nature, sometimes stretched and stressed, almost in the same way as geological forces affect the earth’s crust.