I began creating ceramics just as I was finishing an undergraduate degree in design in 1998. At the time I was also exploring other media, like woodworking and darkroom photography. Since then my professional experience in the design world has included architectural drawing, graphic design and digital photography, and each plays a role in the development of my work as a ceramic artist. For over a decade I continued making ceramics and developing my design aesthetic, giving most of my work away as gifts to friends and family. In 2009 I launched my business, Hope Johnson Ceramics, while working as a university art librarian in San Francisco, California. Currently, my studio is on a farm in north Florida.
My inspiration comes from interesting botanical forms, organic shapes, vibrant colors and a love for the balance of form and function. In my work I strive to convey the simple pleasure of handmade beauty, uniquely expressed through functional ceramic art for the home and body. I handcraft modern home decor, serving and entertaining pieces, and pendant necklaces. My creative influences include the Art Nouveau style, the Bauhaus movement and Mid Century modern design. I also draw much inspiration from other contemporary handmade artists from a wide range of diverse media.
My ceramic work is characterized by simple but bold surface design, using retro-inspired graphics and a fresh, cheerful color palette. Pieces are hand-shaped into naturally organic curves and volumes, feeling smooth and rounded to the touch. I love to enhance the pleasing tactile nature of a ceramic piece by pairing matte and glossy glaze finishes in a design. My tabletop pieces are equally suited for serving or display, and my ceramic pendant necklaces are uniquely beautiful personal accessories.
I embrace the handmade nature of my work by creating each piece entirely by my own hands, with no outsourcing and nothing made from a mold. Pieces are individually shaped by hand from low fire clay, using both wheel-thrown and hand-building methods. My illustrations are pencil-drawn onto bisqueware, and commercial glazes are applied by hand using metal tipped squeeze bottles and brushes. The pieces are then low fired in an electric kiln. I especially love the handmade process and how a ceramic piece transforms through each step, from the initial creative spark of an idea to the exciting reveal when the kiln lid is lifted.
You can take a look at my process in the studio in this 3 part Fog + Foundry blog series.