Jo Boyer is a San Francisco-based ceramicist who creates one-of-a-kind nature and nostalgia influenced works of art. Each little pod is meticulously crafted, resembling something out of a dream— they are both otherworldly and completely familiar. They somehow belong everywhere at once: they belong in the trees, under the sea, and in the sky. Each special little world is absolutely captivating with the mixture of textures and glazes, shapes and holes. Jo’s unique and lovingly-created works are beautiful additions to any home.
You can see a collection of Jo’s work at Crown Nine in Old Oakland or online. $65-$200.
INTERVIEW WITH JO BOYER
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’m always amazed thinking about this question because I’m actually “being” what I’ve always wanted to be. Since the age of 5, I’ve known I want to be a ceramicist. My Opa, who was a ceramicist in the Netherlands before immigrating to the U.S., died when I was 5 and though I can’t prove it, I think maybe his passion for ceramics must have left his body and found mine. I was always really obsessed with him and his creations and though I don’t have many clear memories of actually spending time with him, I have had this very romanticized understanding of his life and struggle. His dream was to immigrate to the United States and start up his pottery business here, but what actually ended up happening was that he worked as a school custodian and never touched clay again. Though I know he had other things that brought him joy, like family and fishing, it’s always made me sad to think that he never got to do what he dreamed of doing. Maybe a part of me thinks I’m here to carry out his legacy. But, then again, maybe I’m a bit of a romantic.
What are you currently obsessed with?
I’m currently obsessed with the unknown
What was/is your most unexpected source of inspiration?
My newer work with ravens was inspired by a really intoxicated, unnervingly clairvoyant gay man who walked up to me at a club and told me things about myself that only I know and then proceeded to tell me more things I had yet to know about myself.
What is your favorite tool or process?
I live for throwing porcelain on the wheel! It is the most amazing feeling in the world. It took many years for it to feel so incredibly good but now it’s the most consistently gratifying thing that I do (that scene in “Ghost” makes a lot of sense) After throwing the forms on the wheel, my process then involves altering and texturing them with a needle tool. Besides my hands and the wheel, the needle tool is the only tool that I use. This part of the process is very meditative for me.
How do you get through a creative rut or block? What do you do to get creatively re-charged?
I haven’t had a creative rut or block for a while now and I feel very fortunate for that because they are undoubtedly one of the most frustrating, unsettling and disorienting aspects of life. And yet, they ARE a part of life and seem to always turn into a good opportunity for for me to learn about my own neurosis. Usually once I come to terms with them being a purposeful part of the process, I am able to get through them.
What creative or business related dream do you wish would come true?
My current dream that I’m working on making a reality is to have my own live/work studio with exposed brick and a large retail window in the front where people can get a glimpse of what ceramic art involves. My dream is to create and sell and live in the one space.
Finish this statement: If I wasn’t a maker, I would be: A marine biologist or a WNBA basketball player.