JOHN ROBERTSON - COBBLE HILL POTTERY
A self supporting professional potter since graduating from art school in 1976, John moved to Cobble Hill with his partner Harriet and established their studio; Cobble Hill Pottery in 1988. They have enjoyed their life of carrying on a time honored traditional handcraft with a huge scope for personal creative experimentation and fun!
During his career John has followed his passion through the clay world, working in earthenware, reduction stoneware, and raku and primitive firings. This current body of work consists of high fired, reduction stoneware, glazed in a palette of personally formulated glazes perfected during his years of experimentation. He enjoys utilizing brushes that he constructs himself consisting of various animal hairs glued and wired to bamboo. He applies combinations of oxides and under-glazes with these to enrich and enliven the glazed surfaces.
His work is mainly thrown on the wheel, altered and trimmed while damp, then bisque fired once dry. Some of his regular production items are made by flattening clay with a slab roller and then formed over a plaster or Styrofoam hump mold; while damp they can be decorated with stamps he has carved from wood or plaster. After the initial bisque firing the foot of each piece is coated in glaze-resistant emulsion and then dipped into the liquid glaze. At this point the oxide brush work, scraffito, glaze-on-glaze, wax-resist brushwork, or other decoration is done. The downdraft propane kiln is then carefully loaded, taking all of its idiosyncratic hot and cold spots (where only certain glaze combinations will reach temperature) into account. An overnight warming is started to lessen the occasion for pots cracking and then a 12 hour firing to reach maximum temperature of 2350 degrees F., the kiln is then quick cooled to 1800c to achieve the desired glaze effects. The kiln needs at least 24 hours to cool before it is opened, the pots removed, the bottoms sanded to ensure furniture friendly texture and carried to the showroom. From there each piece of pottery will set out into the world
When time allows he also works in other mediums, painting , mixed media wall pieces, assemblages with wood and metal. These are a creative outlet as well as fun. The other passion in his creative life is as a jazz musician playing the string bass with different jazz bands in the Cowichan Valley and Victoria area..