John Jelfs, based in Bourton-on-the-Water, where he runs a pottery with his wife Jude, makes beautifully glazed stoneware in the Leach tradition. He trained at Cheltenham College of Art, but is largely self-taught. He makes fine bottles, jugs and bowls, the surfaces glazed with locally sourced ashes, celadons and tenmokus. His decoration is painted, incised or combed through. Jelfs’ salt-glazing is particularly successful, suiting his interest in drier surface qualities, and his use of clay slip, particularly on tea bowl forms, can be very effective. His experiments with ash glazes have also been used to good effect on some of his elegant pitchers and tall jar forms. Jelfs’ work is quiet and understated, revealing its fullest qualities on close acquaintance, over time.
by David Whiting