by Melissa Macker, Executive Director
John Skelton has been teaching pottery in academic settings for 17 years and creating pottery for much longer. Last year he started teaching pottery wheel classes at The 567, and another Beginning Wheel class just kicked off this week with John.
"The 567 is important to me as a hub for making the ceramic arts available in the community," said John. "The casual environment allows me to demonstrate alternative techniques, allowing me to experiment while teaching."
John is a patient instructor. He seems to have a knack for explaining how to transform a spinning ball of clay into a bowl or cup for those who have never touched a pottery wheel before. Getting that clay on the wheel to bend to your will for the first time can be difficult, but John takes the stress out of it by keeping the whole class relaxed.
You can tell that what he really loves, though, is encouraging people to keep learning. Making a bowl is easy—but John hopes they will press on to learn more challenging shapes like vases, boxes, and teapots.
In addition to teaching at The 567, John is a ceramics professor at Middle Georgia State University and instructor at Mercer University. As an artist, his pieces have been exhibited in juried ceramics exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Ceramics Monthly International Competition and the Strictly Functional National. His pottery has been published in books and periodicals such as The Art of Contemporary American Ceramics, Ceramics Technical, and American iPottery. You will see some of his pottery on exhibit in The 567’s gallery next month.
John's wife, Johnnie, also teaches ceramics at The 567. Occasionally you'll see their 3-year-old son, Jack, in the pottery studio. Jack loves cooking and Play-Doh.