In our everyday lives we need items that are functional, and we like to surround ourselves with objects that are pretty to see and touch. My work with clay has allowed me to express myself by making useful and stylish object that fulfill both of these desires. The feel of the clay in my hands gives me a feeling of peace and warmth. It’s that feeling I want to pass along through my art.
Functionality is as important to my work as visual beauty. The feel of the pot in the users hands, it’s ability to perform the tasks it was created to, I consider these elements as I work and as I analyze my finished pieces. Achieving the right feel and function along with the right look adds challenge to the process, but like most ceramic artists, I do love a good challenge! I want my work to have a sense of ease and fluidity, and the use of clay, slip and glaze lends itself very well to this.
I am still excited by the concept of making functional objects that are also pieces of art. Things that become a comforting presence in the owners everyday life, like the favorite daily mug that just feels right in their hands. As I approach the beginning of my third decade of pottery making, I have become entranced by the marriage of functional form and dynamic movement. When I am in the studio I am searching for just the right balance of control and chance, in order to make pots that serve their purpose well while having a sense of energy and playfulness.
Jill was born and raised on the Kerkhoff family farm near West Lafayette, Indiana. She came from a family of makers. Woodworking, painting, sewing and crafting of almost any kind was common interest of many of Jill's relatives, including both of her grandmothers and her maternal great-grandparents, all of whom she enjoyed spending time with while growing up. Her early interest in creating pictures and objects was encouraged, and after high school she attended Ball State University as a Fine Arts Major. In the fall of 1997, Jill took her first throwing class. By the end of the semester, she realized clay was the medium she truly connected with.
Jill graduated in 2000 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts, specializing in Ceramics. Soon thereafter she migrated to the sunshine of Phoenix, Arizona. She continued to develop as a potter at the ‘Desert Dragon Pottery Studio’ in North Phoenix, refining her throwing skills to develop the control needed to produce the easy shapes she was drawn to. A style developed that conveyed comfort and movement, and she began participating in local craft fairs and charity auctions.
Jill currently lives in Goodyear, Arizona where she shares studio/shop space with her husband and two pampered cats. She maintains a strong relationship with Desert Dragon Pottery Studio where she makes regular use of their glaze studio and gas kiln. Jill’s regular patronage of customers from events, direct sales, and her virtual showroom, keep her busy throughout the year.