Joanna was born into a missionary family in Zimbabwe and spent her formative years (1954 – 1968) surrounded by the browns of the dry season, the greens of the rainy season, oranges and yellows of mango and papaya and rich purples and reds of jacaranda and bottlebrush trees. All these you will see reflected back in her spontaneous use of color and her depiction of African women and children. Some years later, it was the soft pastel hues of wide open Montana skies, the birthplace of her pottery and her three children, that became another palette. Deeper still, an education in the language of art from Berea College, KY, renewed an origin and love of abstract minimalism; so there is simply white… white with word, white with sgraffito, white with sacred. Her greatest artistic influences have been the stark black and whites of Barnett Newman and the color fields of Mark Rothko. Joanna works on many different graphic levels and weaves an expression of her faith into each piece.
“Learning to throw pots in Bozeman, Montana (1980), I quickly knew that I would not follow the path of earthy production pottery; my heart was singing with colors and it was not long before I discovered terra cotta clay with a bright palette of color underglaze. I have been writing and telling stories with word since I can remember ~ finally I am able to combine all these loves, and offer it as a blessing from Creator. Through my faith journey, I have come to a celebratory place on a pathway that speaks through color and poetry. What better way to shout the JOY and whisper the quiet………. to hear God’s voice and to answer with affirmation? “
Joanna lives and works in Kalispell, MT, selling primarily out of her studio Pomegranate Clay.
“No, there are no crushed and ground pomegranates in my clay. The symbol of the pomegranate is used to signify a time of birthing in my life, a new language of art, and a twin spirit found in a fellow potter, who was was also in love with pomegranates."
Beyond the stocking of shelves and creating inventory to provide an income, Joanna’s greatest fulfillment is in sharing stories. Listening to a story about how someone gave someone a special pot, and in turn another friend ordered something and was blessed and encouraged.
Perhaps the color and form are secondary to the message of faith, but I like to believe that I work in harmony with the Spirit and it is this vision that puts the song behind the colors, the dancing behind the patterning of African women’s dresses, the JOY in the matching of sentiment, color and form. How else could you drink your morning rainbow of joy, cradle the warmth of hope in your hands, and sing a new song? Friends will ask “What blend of coffee are you serving?” Delight them with a gift of a rainbow/joy mug and share the experience!
The studio is located next to my home; please park in the wide gravel area in front of the studio sign.
Pomegranate Studio is an open studio ~ I usually work 6 1/2 days a week and most evenings and some very late nights. The public is always welcome to stop in and shop or browse any time my lights are on, but if you stop in and I am at the dentist or running an errand, do try me again. For your convenience, just give me a call ahead of time to be sure my day's schedule can accommodate yours.