Jack went to the Ulster College of Art & Design intending to become a painter before a visit to Lucie Rie’s studio changed his mind. The completeness of her way of life appealed and he decided to make pots for a living. Graduating in 1971, he worked in Kilkenny Design Workshops before establishing his studio first in Co. Armagh and then Herefordshire before moving to Cornwall where he is now based. His involvement with the Craft Potters Association has been extensive, as Chairman, as a founder of Ceramic Art London and with Ceramic Review.
Jack describes himself as being interested in the usefulness of things. His work is concerned with function but not necessarily about utility or usefulness. His porcelain soda-fired vessels are embedded with ancient stories and contemporary narratives.
He says ‘the ceramic pieces that I love are the most fundamental of forms, and most of my recent work is based on just two. Vessels to drink from are surely among the most intimate objects that we use. Bowls are elemental, forms for sharing, which at their best are open and generous. They can be tiny and fragile or rugged and monumental in scale.’ Believing that focusing on a simple process can produce work of complexity and depth, his making has been pared down to the essentials. He uses just one clay, one colouring material, and a single firing.