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Artist: Jan McKeachie Johnston

Jan McKeachie Johnston, WISCONSIN
View work by Jan McKeachie Johnston

Artist Statement

I fire the majority of my work in a Japanese style wood fired kiln. It is a sixty-hour firing process during which wood is continually stoked into the kiln. The accumulation of ash on the surface of the pieces enhances the surface textures and subtleties of form that I consider critical to the qualities I am trying to communicate.

Working within a traditional framework, it is important to me that my work moves beyond that framework to carry information personal to myself to the viewer/user. Each piece is considered as an individual. I approach my work intuitively, finding that while I have certain ideas or parameters about form and finished product it is essential to the vitality of the piece to remain open and maintain a dialogue during the creating process. Through this process I hope to reveal the unique, friendly and responsive, and robust qualities of clay as a material.


Jan McKeachie Johnston studied at the University of Minnesota, Southern Illinois University, and received her BFA degree from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Since 1979 Jan has been active in teaching workshops across the United States and Chile, serving as a visiting lecturer at UWRF, and working in her Wisconsin studio. For the past 40 years she has participated in important national and international exhibitions, including American Shino at Babcock Galleries, New York, NY in 2001; the Moegi Gallery’s 18 American Potters exhibit, Japan in 1997; Sculptural Utility, a solo exhibition at Lacoste Gallery, Concord, MA in 2004; and A Touch of Humanity, Schaller Gallery in 2018. She has been a guest artist in St. Louis, MO, Kansas City, MO, St. Paul, MN and Santiago, Chile. Her work has also been featured in Clay Times and Ceramics Monthly, and she is represented in many private and public collections, including The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA; Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota; and Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia). She is represented by Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN; Schaller Gallery, St. Joseph, MI; Lacoste Gallery, Concord, MA; and Grand Hand Gallery, Minneapolis, MN.


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