The dramatic setting of Jason Wason’s studio and home gives an insight into the inspiration behind the power and beauty of his ceramics. Living and working in an isolated farmhouse on high cliffs near St. Just, one of Britain’s most westerly points and once home to myriad tin mines, Wason is exposed to the stark beauty of the elements; a beauty which clearly informs his work.
Wason has always retained a strong independence. He is essentially a self-taught artist rather than a product of the art college system and from a young age travelled the world and experienced a multitude of cultures - the Balkans, the middle East and Asia. Indeed it was his skill as a craftsman which supported these travels and he learnt various local practices whilst also exporting local jewellery.
In 1972 Wason settled in Scotland where he set up a co-operative of craftsmen and started working with ceramics. Four years later, he moved to Cornwall and worked at Bernard Leach’s St. Ives Pottery as an assistant and consolidated his technical knowledge through batch production.
Initially, Wason made functional pieces but by the late eighties he found he was concentrating on increasingly bigger, more ambitious vessels. They were objects inspired by the great ceremonial wares of the past, and by his deep affinity with nature - broad deep bowls, jars, pouring vessels, disk-like containers and lidded jars - and fused ancient elements of form with the many types of craft he had seen on his travels whilst also retaining the direct, ever-present light, colour and texture of his Cornish home.
Wason’s ceramic pieces are much more than functional ceramics, they are works of art with sumptuous metallic oxide finishes that transform and often transcend the original clay body. For his first solo show Burnt Offerings at Pangolin London, Wason worked with Pangolin Editions to explore casting in bronze and silver which enabled him to go beyond the traditional limitations of working in ceramic. The extraordinary results were a beautiful compliment to his regular body of work as seen in Silent Witness.