While some people unwind after work with a cocktail, a brisk jog or a rerun of their favorite mindless television show, Jon Loer likes to get behind the wheel. The pottery wheel, that is. By day, Jon is the project manager for Room & Board’s brand team. By night, he’s a “functional potter” who creates beautiful and usable pieces, each with its own unique personality.
Jon’s passion for pottery started as a young boy growing up in the St. Croix River Valley, an area of Minnesota with rich history of pottery and ceramic makers. His family is from Red Wing, a nearby town famed for its namesake pottery. In college, Jon was inspired by local artist Warren Mackenzie, who introduced him to Leach Pottery, one of the most respected and influential studio potteries in the world. The more Jon learned about the history and tradition of ceramics, the more he was inspired to make his own.
Jon started taking classes at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, and spent three years honing his craft and developing his artistic process. Last summer, he moved into Fire on the Greenway studio with 13 other ceramic artists. Working in porcelain, stoneware and earthenware, he loves to interpret historical forms, techniques and imagery in new ways. His favorite technique is Srgraffito, a method in which he applies two layers of contrasting colors to an unfired piece and then carves out a design.
Jon says his tenure at Room & Board has also inspired him. “The company’s dedication to natural materials and American craftsmanship aligns with my own values as an artist,” he explains. “Seeing the caliber of products we offer encourages me to design creative yet functional pieces.”
His favorite pottery creation? Celedon-glazed porcelain water bowls for his dogs Kittson, Puck and Cricket, who often join him at the studio. “I keep telling them water out of a porcelain bowl tastes much better than water out of an old Cool Whip container, but they’re skeptical.”
Most recently, Jon has been preparing for the upcoming Holiday Open House and Sale at the studio. It’s his first show at Fire on the Greenway, and he couldn’t be more excited. “I love the idea of people surrounding themselves with handmade objects and using them during their everyday rituals.” We couldn’t be more proud of or excited for him.
To learn more about the Fire on the Greenway Holiday Open House and Sale, check out their Facebook event page.
Photo by Jon Loer