Established more than a decade ago in the Big Sandy Mush section of Leicester, Jones Pottery is the family business of potter Matt Jones and his wife Christine. The massive wood-fired kiln that Matt uses was built with the help of his brother Michael, and the family works together to fire it several times a year.
“It is important,” Jones has written, “that my work is grounded in the Carolina traditions that go back 150 years, but I feel quite free to incorporate a modern sensibility and ideas from other cultures.” While that blend of individual and international aesthetic elements makes Jones’ pottery unique, the heritage of his native region is also evident in what folk pottery scholar Terry Zug has described as “bold forms and rich, earthy textures that echo the work of country masters from the Southern past.” The shapes and the salt and alkaline glazes that Jones creates reflect his Southern heritage and the techniques he developed during early apprenticeships with master potters Mark Hewitt of Pittsboro, North Carolina, and Todd Piker of Connecticut.
In the documentary film Celebrating the Cycle: The Wood Fired Pottery of Matt Jones, Matt’s brother David Jones documented a six-month process of the potter’s work, from clay mill to sales table. Barbara Perry, Decorative Arts Curator at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, has written that the film “illustrates a tradition of pottery that has been alive in the Carolinas for centuries . . . it captures the spirit and creativity that Matt Jones has brought to this ancient process of wood firing.”
Matt Jones’ work been featured in Ceramics Monthly and at the Mint Museum’s annual Pottery Invitational, the Southern Highland Craft Guild (of which he is a member) Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, and the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival.
The Jones family welcomes visitors to Jones Pottery, but requests a day’s notice before any visit.