Jonas Davidson (AKA Permanent Vaclaytion) is the newest addition to our lineup of local makers at Stripe. His mugs, plates, and pour over coffee sets are simply designed and beautifully crafted. Read our interview with Jonas, where he shares how he got hooked on making ceramics.
How’d you get started as a ceramicist?
I've always admired almost anything ceramic related, whether it was kitchenware, decorative items, or planters. I collected antique pottery for years and whenever visiting festivals where artists sell their work I've always been drawn to check out the pottery. One day my wife suggested that I take some classes and try it myself, so I signed up for a monthly membership at a studio here in Santa Cruz.
After a few lessons I was totally hooked. I wanted to go to the studio all the time to either practice throwing or work on something I had started during a previous session. I'd spend a lot of time thinking about doing pottery, imagining and even physically practicing the motions I had been taught for throwing. I found a lot of satisfaction in it, especially while sitting at the potter’s wheel mesmerized by the piece of clay rotating in front of me. There was something about it that provided me a sense of relief, simultaneously allowing and requiring me to tune out from all the everyday stresses and worries that bog down our everyday experiences.
Where do you find inspiration for the pieces you create?
My biggest, and most obvious, inspiration is the work of other ceramicists. As mentioned earlier, that was what originally sparked my interest. Any time there's a festival in town where other potters are selling their work I try to make it to go see what they are doing and possibly gather bits of inspiration. I follow anything and everything pottery related on social media as well to see what others around the world are doing, saving images of work that I feel inspired by.
I also like to look to pottery from the past, browsing antique stores and thrift stores to gather inspiration from the many styles created over time.
Another area where I've found inspiration for pottery is in architecture. I suppose I see similarities between the two, both involving three-dimensional forms with unique texture patterns and color designs. I could easily spend my weekends driving around looking at buildings and houses gathering inspiration for new work.
What goes into designing something like a coffee mug?
The process of designing something like a mug can be different each time for me. But in most cases it is one part intentional and the other accidental. I usually start out with an idea of how I want the mug to look by asking myself some questions. What sort of shape, size and details will the body of this mug have? How should the handle look to compliment that body? Since this is supposed to be a functional item, will it be easy to hold and drink from with this form and not just something that I think looks cool? Is this something I can consistently recreate?
As I go about making the mug I might notice certain unintentional features in it that turned out by accident and yet I really like and want to keep. This is the accidental part of the process I try to stay open to. I guess for this reason it's hard to say there's ever a final design.
What’s next for Permanent Vaclaytion? Awesome name, by the way.
I've had a few things in mind that I'd like to accomplish as I come up with the time. The biggest one is that I'd like to make my items available outside of the Santa Cruz area, so I'll be launching an e-commerce website in the near future where people can purchase online and have items shipped to their doorstep.
I'm also interested in starting to explore glaze chemistry so to someday create my own glaze recipes. Up to now I've been using commercial glazes, which are super reliable for the most part and offer a nice variety, but I'd really like to develop an understanding of the chemistry of glaze and start producing my own.
Other than that I'd like to get more shelving in my studio, spend time experimenting with my new clay extruder and continue enjoying making pottery.
Join us for a Pop-Up with Jonas!
Saturday, November 11th
Stripe 107 Walnut Ave
Follow Jonas's work on his Instagram