Ceramics Southern Africa


SINCE 1972


John Shirley

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I have been making pots for fifty years and in 2000 after working in many different clays and firing methods, seduced by translucency in ceramics, my experimentation with bone china began.

Many tests and trials later I have produced a body of extreme whiteness with excellent translucency made entirely from local materials. It seems that after all the experimentation, working with a combination of soluble salts and other ceramic pigments in combination with wax resist, I am finally making the work I feel is a true expression of myself. I find the soluble salts to be so different to the oxides with which one usually colours ceramics, not only for their subtlety but also the way they gently permeate the surface of the work creating a watercolour effect.

My commitment is to the pursuit of excellence in my work, and in this the importance of the journey exceeds that of the destination.

In 2018 I was privileged to present two one week workshops at La Meridiana in Tuscany, on working with bone china and soluble salt decoration.

I have garnered several accolades for my work. Two of the most important of these being having a piece of work selected for the 5th World Ceramic Biennale, in Korea 2009, and in 2010 I was accepted as a member of the International Academy of Ceramics.

I am a founder member of Ceramics Southern Africa, of which I am a Fellow and currently The National Chairperson.


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