Clay artist Doug Jackson’s life path was going to be art, no matter what.
When you’re an artist, creating anything—a painting, a piece of pottery, a book of poems—is an act of passion, an intrinsic need to create and keep creating in any way you can. “It’s something in you,” says clay artist Doug Jackson. “You just have to do it.”
Jackson has listened to that call since he was young, wandering down to the edge of the woods where the water rose to dig clay from the earth, crafting and firing small pots with his previously buried treasure. Now, years later, he’s still elbow deep, creating gorgeous artwork in the Wellsburg studio he calls Hands of Clay.
The potter’s wheel has always been a deep source of fascination for Jackson—he was drawn to it from the very beginning. Despite his interest, it was a while before he got access to a wheel. His parents tried to have one made, but it wasn’t until the 7th grade that he finally got his hands on one.
Artists find other artists, and Jackson’s teacher noticed how strongly he was drawn to clay. So, when a pottery demonstration came to his school, he was given the chance to follow his artistic drive. “Once I tried it, I just knew it was something.”
Jackson’s art is a solid mix of traditional and whimsical. “Not everything pans out,” he says, “but if you don’t screw up, you’re not trying.” His most popular technique and inspiration comes from 16th century Raku, a Japanese pottery style that focuses on unique and organic textures. His favorite part of the process? The final product. “There are so many steps—it’s a long process—but a rewarding one. It’s like Christmas, watching something come from nothing.”
Hands of Clay will go through some changes soon as Jackson moves his studio into a renovated horse barn that once belonged to his parents. He’s ringing in a new era in his journey as an artist by changing the name of his studio to Fire Horse Ceramics.