John Jelfs was born in 1946 and studied ceramics at Cheltenham College of Art. He set up his studio 40 years ago in the Cotswolds with his wife Jude.
From his first exposure to studio pottery, he was immediately excited by the work of the late Bernard Leach and his lifelong friend the Japanese potter Shoji Hamada. It was the strength and quietness of their pots which most excited him about their work.His pots are all hand-thrown. The focus has always been on pure form. He uses celadon, ochre and shino glazes, made from wood ash and clay, ingredients local to the studio. Decoration is kept to a minimum. He also soda-fires and has a large wood-fired kiln located at the Whichford Pottery.
His work is often altered while still soft on the wheel. John uses a long firing cycle, as this brings out the subtlety and depth in his glazes. In this high speed, hi-tech age, his aim is to make uncomplicated, simple pots upon which the eye can easily rest.
It is an indication of his high level skills that he has to be one of the best teapot makers. Making tea pots is seen as a rite of passage for the ceramicist and John’s work is an example for any aspiring potter.
John is a fellow of the Craft Potter’s Association. He exhibits widely and his work is in many private and public collections here and abroad.