Hamish Jackson – Hamish Jackson Pottery
“I have always liked making things,” recalls English-born Hamish Jackson, “My father is a tinkerer.” Jackson’s love affair with clay began while studying literature at the University of East Anglia. “I had the opportunity to try throwing a pot and it was magical,” he explains. “I then worked hard to learn and grow as a potter.”
Hamish embodies a long lineage in studio pottery. In 2012 he started out at Winchcombe, a pottery stronghold in the Cotswolds, only three miles from his grandparents’ home. This was where Michael Cardew worked, recognized as one of the grandfathers of studio pottery, and where the tradition of wood-fired pottery production lives on today. In April, Hamish completed a four-year apprenticeship with Chatham’s renowned potter Mark Hewitt, a Chatham StudioTour founder. Mark, also an Englishman living abroad, who apprenticed with Michael Cardew in his youth.
As a studio assistant at a ceramics school in Italy in 2013, he met Hewitt and learned of the vibrant pottery culture here in North Carolina. After, he wrote to Mark, attempting to gain an apprenticeship with him, but there were no openings. Hamish and his wife, Lauren, moved to Brooklyn, NY, for a year, and in 2014, Hamish came to Chatham to study under Hewitt’s tutelage. “I got my real education working with Mark,” he asserts, “Watching and practicing.” Each morning he did the traditional chores associated with wood-fired pottery, such as grinding kiln shelves and preparing firewood, and in the afternoon he threw pots. Since leaving the Hewitt Pottery, he has completed a residency at Shigaraki Ceramic Culture Park in Japan, and brief stints at two potteries in England.
Now, in his own home studio, Hamish is extending another cherished tradition of studio pottery carried down from Cardew and Hewitt – transforming local clays into functional vessels that people use in their everyday lives. “I love to use the natural materials beneath our feet,” he quips. He sources his materials from all around the area, including clay from Chatham County and other parts of the state, and granites from around the Triangle. Hamish creates pottery at his home studio and then fires them with other local artists in wood-fired kilns, including Lara O’Keefe, another Chatham Artist Guild member.
Hamish offers his work—mugs, bowls, pitchers, vases—from $10 to $120. “I want people to buy my pots, enjoy using them and if they break one, be able to come back and buy another,“he says.
Hamish Jackson will make his Chatham Studio Tour debut the first two weeks in December. “I hope that folks who come to my studio will feel a connection to our local clays and use my work in their daily lives—perhaps one of my creations will become someone’s favorite.”