Jason Bohnert BiographyI was born in Louisville, Kentucky and now reside in Flagstaff, Arizona. I make pots from my home studio full time and teach ceramics part time at Coconino Community College and Northern Arizona University.
When I'm not making pots, I enjoy hiking with my dogs, climbing, mountain biking, and vegetarian cooking (and eating!).
LOCATED: Flagstaff, Arizona
PROCESS: Wood & Soda Fired
Jason Bohnert StatementThe exploration of form and surface within my work is an expression of cross cultural contemporary ceramics, strongly influenced by traditional pottery techniques. Experiences in nature and my study abroad give me endless inspiration. Each design is influenced by my experiences apprenticing in China, through the JCI-WVU International Academy of Ceramic Art, through my extended residency in the Penland area at the Energy Xchange and in my graduate studies at West Virginia university.
Most significantly, my travels and studies in Jingdezhen and Yixing have informed my subject matter. Tea service and the ritual vessels of the Chinese tea ceremony, dating back 500 years to the Ming Dynasty, are steeped within me now and are revealed in my recent work. The intimacy and power of sharing tea and the vessels used to store tea, brew tea, and drink tea challenge me to create soft, delicate, and lasting forms. The intimacy of holding a cup to one’s lips and the relationship that develops with a special teapot over years of use and care are significant to me. A successful pot to me is one that lasts over time and reveals itself slowly and continually with every use.
While the miniature scale, intimacy, and balance of the teapot challenge me in one direction, I also enjoy working on a larger scale, making decorative urns, jars, and boxes, inspired by early Tang and Song Dynasty clay, and Shang Dynasty bronzes, temples, and pagodas. I manipulate scale and proportion to attain gesture and impact within a piece. My work represents a strong wheel throwing foundation, often altering thrown forms and assembling parts. Handbuilding with hard and soft slabs is also part of my vocabulary of form and technique, much of which was learned from working with Yixing teapot makers and sculptors Luo Xiaoping, Shao Junya, and Gu Mei Chun.
In my glaze surfaces I am inspired by the rhythms, tones, and textures found in the natural environment. I enjoy brushwork with slips and blue underglaze, contrasting brightly ornamented calligraphy inspired painting with the bare soda-fired claybody. Layered slips, glazes, and overglazes, as well as actual textured surfaces in the clay, create landscapes and references to lichen, gourds, flower buds, fish and streams. I strive to bring a bit of the natural world into the homes of the users and collectors of my pots. These rich and subtle layers of surface are achieved through the handling of the material itself and are enhanced by atmospheric wood and soda kilns. The firing process lends organic nature inspired hues and textures from the wood and sodium glaze I introduce at high temperatures. All work is fired to 2400 degrees and is very durable and food safe. I hope to achieve a lasting sense of discovery and purpose in each piece.
Jason Bohnert ResuméProfile
I have been making pottery full-time and teaching part-time to earn my living since I finished graduate school at the end of 2002. Following residencies, teaching opportunities, and educational and professional experiences, I have lived and worked in KY, WV, NC, Jingdezhen, China, and now AZ. Making and exhibiting my work has given me exposure to other professional studio artists, collectors, gallery owners, and students of pottery from beginner to advanced at universities, art and craft schools, and community studios. Interacting and working with such a variety of artists, facilities, and experience levels has given me unique perspective and working knowledge of all aspects of art creation, distribution, and education. I enjoy sharing this experience and information with other enthusiastic aspiring and professional potters and artists.
College of Creative Arts, West Virginia University — Masters of Fine Arts, conferred Dec 2002, Morgantown, WV
Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute — China International Summer School of Ceramic Art, June 2001, Jingdezhen, Jianxi, PRC
Allen R. Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville — Post Baccalaureate Studies in Fine Art, Jan 1998-May 1999, Louisville, KY
Hanover College — Bachelor of Arts Philosophy, conferred May 1994, Hanover, IN
Associate Faculty, Coconino Community College Flagstaff, AZ Jan 2009-Present
Part-time instructor of ceramics 1 and 2 and Art 290, Arts Practicum. Teacher of record for 12-16 students of all ages, ethnic, and educational backgrounds. Teaching introductory skills in pinching, coiling, hard and soft slab construction, wheel throwing, surface decoration, glaze and clay composition, ceramic art history, and various firing methods. Art 290 is a professional issues course for graduating art students covering portfolio and resume development, photographing artwork, grant writing, career development, and continuing education issues.
Adjunct Faculty, Davis & Elkins College Elkins, WV Aug 2005-May 2007
Part-time instructor of ceramics 1 and 2. Teacher of record for 15-22 both major and non-major art students. Teaching introductory skills in pinching, coiling, hard and soft slab construction, and wheel throwing, the classes also cover basics of surface decoration, glaze and clay composition, ceramic art history, and various kiln firing methods. I was also responsible for maintaining ceramics studio equipment and material purchasing.
Visiting Faculty, West Virginia University, Ceramics Morgantown, WV Jan 2005-Aug 2005
Assisted with all aspects of the operations of the ceramics studio, production studios, China exchange program development, and visiting artist program. I returned to Morgantown after leading the first full-semester China exchange program to help with Chinese visiting artists on campus and assist with recruitment and further development of the China program. I also assisted with kiln building and worked with WVU production studio /visiting artists collaborations.
Adjunct Faculty, West Virginia University Jingdezhen, Jianxi, China fall 2004
Faculty trip leader and liaison for 10 American students and several American visiting artists/faculty guests studying for a full semester through WVU at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute. I helped coordinate master artist demonstrations, coordinated in-country educational trips to Xi’an and Yixing, communicated with WVU faculty in the U.S., and worked with the JCI foreign affairs office to make a memorable and educational experience of a lifetime for my students. The program continues to educate ceramics students from all over the U.S., utilizing the WVU/JCI state of the art studio facilities in Jingdezhen, year round.
Instructor of Ceramics, Odyssey Clay Center Asheville, NC Aug 2004
Put A Lid On It - Co-taught a two month workshop with Shane Mickey for advanced students on making covered forms of all kinds, utilizing many techniques to design and form lidded pots.
Instructor of Ceramics, Odyssey Clay Center Asheville, NC Jan-Mar 2004
Art of Tea - Taught the art and craft of making tea, from forming teapots in the traditional Yixing hand building method to brewing the best pot of tea in Chinese Gunfu Cha style. Collaborated with local blacksmith to recreate traditional Yixing pottery making tools to make available to students. We spent the entire workshop learning and making one teapot each. Slideshows of my experience apprenticing and working in Yixing, China accompanied lectures and demonstrations.
Resident Artist, Energy Xchange Burnsville, NC 2003-2004
Arts-business incubator program - I operated my pottery business utilizing renewable landfill methane gas to heat studios and fire gas pottery kiln. I was one of four clay resident artists and two hot glass artists who shared studio, office, and retail gallery space. This was the beginning of my studio pottery JB Pots, which I still operate successfully today.
Graduate Teaching Assistant, West Virginia University Morgantown, WV Aug 2001-Dec 2002
Teacher of record for 23 university students learning wheel throwing, hand building, glaze application, and basic firing principles and practice. Instruction and responsibilities included demonstrations, slide presentations, loading and firing kilns, running critiques, assigning grades , and developing the syllabus.
Graduate Assistant, West Virginia University Morgantown, WV Aug 1999-Aug 2001
Preparator of the Paul and Laura Mesaros Galleries, layout and design planning, assisting artists with their installations, striking and installing every show, and some curating experience.
Studio Assistant, Penland School of Crafts Penland, NC Mar-May 2001
Assistant to Suze Lindsay, Terry Gess, Linda McFarling, and Jack Troy during the two month spring concentration course focused on form and surface for atmospheric firings. I was responsible for studio maintenance including mixing glazes, loading and firing all salt and wood kilns, and assisting instructors
Honors and Awards
Juror’s Choice for Clay, It’s Elemental, Coconino Center for the Arts, Flagstaff, AZ Dec 2008
Professional Artist Grant Recipient, Arts Monongehela, Morgantown, WV Feb 2008
Professional Development Grant Recipient, National Endowment for the Arts/West Virginia Cultural Division, grant proposal to fund building of wood kiln, Jul 2006
Honorable Mention for Functional Teapot, Atlanta Teapot Festival, Atlanta, GA Jun 2006
Best Booth Design Award, 4 Bridges Art Festival, Chattanooga, TN May 2004, juried by John Cram
Accepted Member of Southern Highlands Craft Guild, Asheville, NC Sep 2003
Juror’s Choice Award, Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, PA May 2003, AMOCA: American Museum of Ceramic Art permanent collection award, juried by Wayne Higby Artist Residency, Energy Xchange, Burnsville, NC Feb 2003-Mar 2005
Full Scholarship, College of Creative Arts, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV Aug 1999-Dec 2002
Geo Grant Recipient, West Virginia University, grant for international studies, May 2001
Studio Assistant, Penland School of Crafts, Spring Concentration Mar-Apr 2001
Ceramics for Beginners: Wheel Throwing by Emily Reason, Lark Books Publishing 2010, images on pp. 52 & 78
500 Pitchers, Lark Books Publishing 2006, juried by Terry Gess, image on p. 78
The Complete Guide to High Fire Glazes by John Britt, Lark Books Publishing 2005, images on pp. 12 & 29
500 Bowls, Lark Book Publishing 2004, juried by John Britt, images on pp. 239,276 & 373
Energy Xchange: Trash To Treasure, American Craft, vol. 64 no. 2, featured in article about using landfill methane gas to fire pottery kiln and run business.