JCJC alumnus & ceramicist Jason Wilson inspires JCJC art students
Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2017-03-07 14:38:44
ELLISVILLE – Raleigh native and current Sumrall resident, Jason Wilson returned to his artistic roots in Ellisville to share his experiences as a ceramicist with Jones County Junior College students. Having never picked up a paint brush, let alone being exposed to art in general before JCJC art instructor, Byron Myrick’s ceramics class, Wilson’s career plans included nursing. After 25-years as an artist, Wilson said he has no regrets.
“I had no idea I’d get in to art walking into this classroom my first semester here,” Wilson explained. “But it felt natural. I stayed with the class and it gave me a platform to get a job.”
After graduating from Jones, Wilson became an apprentice under Bryan Keeland in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee at Shade Tree Pottery. Wilson shared with students he really learned the art of pottery and performing while in Tennessee.
“I was close to Dollywood doing demonstrations on primitive weapons and instructing visitors on how to throw clay to make pottery, when I really became skilled at this,” said Wilson.
He also shared with a crowded room of JCJC students and curious staff about the “dirty” business of ceramics. The first lesson he learned in Tennessee is, “nothing is precious.”.
“I broke all kinds of things. Things broke in the kiln and most of the time, the clay doesn’t work the way you want it to on the pottery wheel.” He emphasized to JCJC students, “You want to fail so you know how far you can push the limits.”
After Wilson’s apprenticeship in the Smoky Mountains, he ventured south to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and opened the Trail House Pottery. In an effort to continue to perfect and explore the many creative options with pottery, Wilson traveled to Sedona, Arizona and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He traveled to Asheville, North Carolina to work for Highwater Clays and to further his study of pottery before returning to the red rocks of Sedona. In Arizona, he continued his studies as a sculptor while working with Michael Colpitts at Artful Ceramics. He has currently settled in Sumrall where he operates his business, J. Wilson Pottery and continues to feed his passion for creating natural, organic art.
“No two potters throw the same way. It’s all about trouble shooting and figuring out how to make it work. Timing is important too. You have to decide when to cut out shapes, holes or other accents. Being open to trying different things is crucial as an artist,” said Wilson.
JCJC sophomore from Hattiesburg, Mason Hinton admired the pottery demonstration and Wilson’s creations in class. The psychology major explained, watching Wilson create has been inspirational.
“I like working with my hands and I dive right into learning. I can see this develop into a hobby, maybe more because I liked learning the different techniques Wilson demonstrated in class. To me, it’s really inspiring to watch an artist at work,” said Hinton.
After throwing several vases, mugs, umbrella stands and big cylinder pots, Wilson explained to students he is addicted to his craft, spending hours or days creating in his studio.
“Just like welding,” Wilson shared, “working with clay is a skill. You have to put the time in to really get the feel for it.”
He also advised students he makes his living by selling his pottery at craft shows because retail sales are difficult to maintain. Wilson’s artwork will be on display through the end of the month at JCJC’s art gallery. For more information about the JCJC art show contact the gallery at 601-477-4148 or visit the gallery which is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The gallery is closed for lunch daily from 11:30 until noon.