John Jordan is a woodturner from Antioch (Nashville), Tennessee. Known primarily for his textured and carved hollow vessels, John has been featured in nearly every major turning exhibition the past twenty years. His work has received numerous awards, can be found in many corporate and private collections, and is in the permanent collections of over twenty museums, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga, the White House in Washington, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in Charlotte, the Fine Arts Museum, Boston, the Detroit Institute of the Arts.
John is in great demand as a demonstrator/teacher, traveling extensively teaching at universities, craft schools, turning groups and trade shows throughout the US, Canada, the UK, France, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, including an annual week or two at world famous Arrowmont school of Arts and Crafts and Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village, CO. His work, along with articles he has written, is frequently seen in publications in several countries, and can be found in numerous books on woodturning and craft. He has also produced three instructional woodturning videos, which are very popular.
John's pieces are initially turned on the lathe, from fresh, green logs, using a number of techniques and tools that have evolved over the years. Each piece is then hand carved and textured, using a variety of different hand and small powered tools. This texturing process is very labor intensive, and can take as much as several days to weeks to complete. There is little room for error during this carving- one small slip can ruin the piece. A light lacquer finish is applied to most pieces, including the dyed work.
"The pieces I make are simple but finely detailed vessels. Manipulating the color and patterns in the wood to complement the form, and the texturing and carving to create visual and tactile contrasts are important parts of the process and the result. What I feel is most important is the intangible quality that the piece is "right" that comes with putting emotion and feeling into the work. A simple object can be very powerful and emotional just for what it is. These pieces are simply decorative vessels that reflect my interest in surface textures/contrasts and form, and the personal responses that I have to them, which I suspect are similar to the feelings that makers of objects have felt for thousands of years."
"I am inspired by many natural things – trees, rock formations, coral reefs – since all of these things exhibit pattern, texture etc. Ethnic objects such as pots, weavings and baskets are interesting to me as well, along with much contemporary craft and art. Any sort of art inspires, and I enjoy museum visits wherever I travel."
"Probably the single largest influence at any time is the work I am currently making. It never fails to provoke and provide ideas. I am always curious to find out what I will do next."
"Many of the woods that I use are from the dump, construction sites etc. I find great satisfaction in creating elegant objects from material that was destined to be buried or burned."
"Using fresh cut logs in my work, the wood is a very direct and responsive medium, with properties that are unique-not about the "woodiness" but the working qualities that it has. With my knowledge of the material, I can exert a great deal of control over the desired result. I am able to work with surface textures and shapes that would sometimes be difficult in other materials. I am, however, connected to the material of wood as a potter is connected to the clay-it's what I do and who I am".