Meet the maker
Jack went to the Ulster College of Art & Design wanting to become a painter. But after a visit to Lucie Rie’s studio he changed his mind. The completeness of her way of life made sense so he decided to make pots for a living. Designingand making has shaped his career.Jack describes himself as being, interested in the particular usefulness of things, the sense of an object as being something which has a place in life. These pots are to do with function but are not necessarily about utility or usefulness, these are vessels for drinking, for sharing, for display and for storage.
Jack challenges the rules of refinement and containment through the fluidity and energy of his work. His soda-fired vessels are embedded with ancient stories and contemporary narratives. They create an intervention with domestic space and daily life. No longer purely utilitarian, these abstract vessels do not conform to conventional use. Doherty questions the vernacular of domesticity and functionality. He describes himself as being; Interested in the usefulness of things. Archetypal forms from history are touchstones in my practice. Vessels made for a contemporary context can be solitary and contemplative or ceremonial; for everyday or a special occasion.
"My work explores vessel forms and the ancient layers of cultural resonance embedded within archetypal forms. Made from porcelain, the forms are thrown then carved and shaped reflecting the fluidity of the material and physicality of making. The elemental colour and surface texture are created by the fusion of fire and soda in the intense heat of the kiln, leaving behind a subtle palette of smoky grey, lemon, russet and turquoise. On many levels, the pots I make are figurative pieces; each has its own unique character, particular emotional range and response."
“White is the ultimate limit of a series of shades of any colour. Jack is particularly recognised for working in Porcelain, a complex medium known for its delicate fineness and translucent nature. Whilst enjoying the soft sensual qualities of the clay, the purity of the whiteness accentuates the simplicity of form with minimal adornment. The serrated mark indicates a full stop, a slash, a gesture or a gentle kiss.
One colouring material
Jack’s pots are not glazed. A smooth thin layer of liquid porcelain (slip) is applied which has copper carbonate added as a single colouring material. The beautiful mottled surfaces of Jack’s work are produced through chemical reactions in the white-hot heat of the kiln’s atmosphere. Pure alchemy.
Jack has evolved his work using only one firing technique. ‘Soda firing’ is a process involving mixing sodium bicarbonate with water, which is then sprayed into the kiln during firing at high temperature. The resulting vapour is drawn through the kiln chamber where it reacts with the silica and alumina present in the clay creating a rich patina of surface texture and colour.