Sulphur Bluff, Texas, USA



I have been noticing recently how the food we eat relates to the pottery it is in.

Particularly how food can conceal, reveal, accentuate, or detract from the overall design of the work. There is always a dance going on between the pottery and the food whether you like it or not.

It is time based performance art!


Strictly Functional 2011!

Simmons potter will be "Bowling" into The Strictly Functional Pottery National Exhibit this year in PA!

The letter I got said there were over 800 entries and 110 were accepted! One was mine!

Notice all of exclamations? I'm so excited!

Below is the piece I got accepted. This years juror was Mary Barringer. Thanks, Mary.



Crib modification.

Here's a little shop talk. Melissa and I inherited a crib that my Memaw and Papa bought new from Sears in 1949 for their firstborn. Since then it has comforted over 10 children in the family. Along with a rich heritage, it had a few loose screws/bent parts, and a lot of the vertical wooden gate posts were very loose.

I wood-glued and clamped the gates so they were solid again. Then I took out the old springs and parts that once let the gates go up and down and snap into place at 5 different adjustments.

How did I fix the gates? I couldn't let them slide up and down freely on the rods, I mean we are talking precious little fingers and toes.

Set screws people, set screws. Set screws hold the world together, and with a simple allen head wrench the gates on this bed are infinitely adjustable. My friend Jon suggested that I drill a little hole in the allen wrench and run a chain through it and attach it to the bed frame for the baby to play with. Not a bad idea.

One thing I like about things that were built in 1949 is that you can work on them. There is no plastic or clippy things on this bed, it's all wood and metal and it's American Made.



Melissa got a week off from work so we are visiting family in Texas this week. First stop was in Atlanta, TX with the Simmons side, now we are in Sulphur Bluff with the Lamborn side. This is a pick from the ranch, the cows are very happy.


Tip Please! (vol. 1)

I have decided to semi-regularly give un-solicited tips to artists and potters alike. These tips are probably going to be sarcastic or funny. I love it when people give me tips, so heres some tips of my own.

Tip #1:

Don't talk about the inherent qualities of the materials you use.


Things Against Stuff

Over the last few days I have been asking myself -"Why do I pay so much energy and attention to making pots?" and, "Why does pottery seem so important to me?"

Now, I like talkin' grand scheme, so...

In the grand scheme of THINGS, things that are made to contain other things are at the very bottom rung of importance. Think chinese buffet to-go clam shell styrofoam boxes. I'm talkin' down there with smart cars, mtv, or the washington redskins. Things of rock bottom importance.

Essentially, people are eating their food and drinking their coffee out of trash.

In our culture, containers have been reduced to u-haul, starbucks, and wal-mart sacks. The containers we use are an accurate indicator of how Corporatism has consumed our culture (please don't commonly confuse corporatism with capitalism here).

One of the main reasons I love making pottery is because of how the pottery itself is at least equal in value to its contents. It restores basic human dignity by keeping us from eating off of trash.

There is an excellent show CLICK HERE that is exclusively ceramic containers, check it out and BUY HANDMADE, or go buy a redskins jersey.


The Cup

I have put aside 4 of my favorite mugs for an exhibit at the only and the one Crimson Laurel Gallery in Bakersville, NC this November.


D is for Dragracing

I just finished a list of letters from the alphabet in my sketchbook that I am going to turn into educational paintings.

All 26 of them! it was difficult narrowing down all of the great words, it takes some commitment!

Because of all the wasted words I may do 26 rejected words.

A is for America
B is for Bob Dylan
C is for Chair
D is for Dragracing


Step Right Up, Come On In

The show/sale ended up to be a lot of fun! I have uploaded a video tour of the exhibit. It was very fun seeing all of my favorite Johnson City people and to have a final show downtown before the move to Montgomery. It was a pleasure to work with fellow exhibitors Charlie Haskins and John Hathaway. Jason Sabbides was able to show a few pieces, but was mostly out of commission because of a very pregnant wife! Best of luck to them.

We ended up showing more than six hundred pieces for the one night show, and I was proud of how it all turned out.

A sequel to the 2010 exhibit Canked, 2011's Son of Canked was quite a pleasure.



This clip is from the Montgomery Advertiser yesterday. Pretty cool!

CityFest a big hit with area residents

John Simmons sells his pottery during the 25th annual Prattville CityFest.
John Simmons sells his pottery during the 25th annual Prattville CityFest. / Mickey Welsh
Downtown was shut down in Prattville on Saturday as ven­dors lined the streets for the 25th annual Prattville CityFest.
Everything from Alabama and Auburn apparel to home made paintings to purses, and even turtles, were available for families to purchase as they walked together on a sunny day.
The event brought a bal anced mix of different areas such as corporate tents along side do-it-yourself booths. And while some items probably weren't very interesting to chil dren, they had a kids' zone fea turing inflatable rides all to themselves.
Some attendees came with organizations such as the Pratt ville Autauga Humane Society or different area churches, like C Williams. She came with her grandson as the two enjoyed what she called "a nice day."
"I looked at all the vendors and then let him come play," Williams said.
If browsing the different shopping selections left anyone hungry, they only needed to visit the Creek Walk to enjoy corn dogs and Italian ice, among other food items. Some even kicked off their shoes to relax in the creek near down town.
Even some of the vendors stepped away from their boot hs to see what else CityFest had to offer. Mimi Young from Chelsea New York and Jan McDowell from Touch of New York in Prattville took some time late in the day to check out some new additions to the lineup.
"It's all about supporting the local CityFest," McDowell said.
Young said the crowd was steady all day, saying the fact that it was Mother's Day week end may have played a helping hand.
"The traffic's been better than the last couple of years," Young said. "It's been great, real upbeat."


    Screaming Beauty

    Below are some photos of new cups that I am excited and curious about. After making mostly tile 6 slip decorated pots for several years it is refreshing to glaze pots. Glazeware will always have a special place in my heart. I particularly like the gestural quality of the 'drawings'.

    Something about Cone 10 Reduction glazed pots (or, C10RG as some call it) screams beauty. Isn't that a curious statement? Screaming beauty? 

    2011, the year of screaming beauty.

     I made, glazed, and fired these during my 'residency' at Fork Mountain Pottery this winter.


    Son of Canked

    Come and see some of my new work along with Charlie Haskins and The Rain Dogs, Jason Sabbides, and John Hathaway. A full spectrum (hundreds!) of paintings, drawings, pottery, and photography will be on exhibit in downtown Johnson City. 



    My L&L '85 has had a much needed upgrade. Before and after pics below.

    I can't wait to hear these new relays clicking and clacking my greenware to the next level. See: new relays, wires, and connectors from this century.

    I love my manual kiln, it's knobs go to infinity. 


    Friday the 13th

    I am busy making new work for this show/sale that is scheduled for Friday the 13th of May, 2011 in Downtown Johnson City at the Tipton Gallery. All work will be for sale at reasonable prices, so come see and take home some art!

    the lineup-


    Banana Nut Bread (pot in action)

    Last night I made a loaf of Banana Nut Bread in my new Barking Spider Pottery dish! It was completely delicious and half of it is already gone.


    something happening

    Things are busy around the shop, gearing up to do a little glazing as I finish up pots for my final Tennessee kiln firing.

    I am having a show in May with fellow painters Charlie Haskins and Jason Sabbides - Son of Canked.


    Source Material

    Rutherford B. Hayes "I am a radical in thought and principle, and a conservative in method and conduct."

    Siamese Twin Birds - I guess there are too many siamese cats in the world and not enough other animals, I plan on changing that.

    Ninefruit Jar - Galations 5:22



    I am working on a new design of a stackable bowl. I can never make enough decent, simple, stacking cereal-sized bowls. To me, simpler pots are the ones with more dignity.

    ::a bit of an excerpt from my thesis paper last spring::

    In a piece I call the Ninefruit Bowls I feel the subject is easily identified. On nine small fruit-sized bowls I drew nine different fruits. The bowls are symbols of gifts that God has given to all people. In Scripture, Galatians 5:22 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." This is an example of how my drawings can be allegorical. A dietician would recommend a small bowl of fresh fruit every day for your body, and a minister would prescribe scripture to feed the soul. These small bowls are the simplest forms I make; I believe they are also the most practical. They were made to serve.


    Snake Jar

    The battery in my camera is dead and between here and Montgomery we can't find the charger. So, I've managed to capture a few photos on my laptop using Photo Booth. These are a couple of new pieces I am working on, covered jar type forms.

    Where there's clouds don't mean there's rain,
    Tears in my eyes don't mean there's pain.



    Teapots, etc.

    I am busy making teapots, bottles, covered jars, and about to start on some bowls. Being here in the mountains makes me want to keep things simple, clean, and easy. There is a bit of a shift in my vision, not sure what it is from. I'm not as concerned with putting imagery on the pottery and that dictating what it is (monkey bottle, etc.) as much as I am making and seeing the pottery and trying to react and compliment the forms and subtle elements of the pots with whatever decoration I go with.

    Michael Simon is a potter who did this. I know he has influenced a lot of the potters in this area and it echos in their work. This teapot I made is certainly influenced by his work, a lot of the pots I am making now seem to be.

    Back to the wheel...


    Turner Porcelain (white and round)

    I am house/studio/dog/cat sitting for Barking Spider Pottery. Jon and Becki have graciously let me use their wonderful studio while they are away.

    So far I've pounded through 50lbs of Tom Turners Porcelain. It is a real pleasure to work with. More on what I am making later.


    etsy site launch monday

    This cup, others like it, bowls, pitchers, drawings on paper, and a whole multitude of other new work from the studio will be available for sale exclusively on etsy for two weeks from Feb. 14th thru Feb. 25th.

    on to the next one.



    The year of the rabbit when year of the rabbit wasn't cool. This is a mug from my last firing in Nov. of 2010.


    Making Vol. 2

    These are some of the pots I made during my stint at Fork Mountain Pottery.


    cups with trigger handles

    same cups with my best Kline vines

    Same Cups.

    thin tile #6 over vine patterns.

    same cups.

    My hope is that the vines will provide subtle background for the featured drawings, an illusion of depth.

    This is an excerpt from my thesis support paper I wrote last spring.


    "I start a picture and I finish it. I don't think about art while I work. I try to think
    about life” (Jean Michel Basquiat).

    ...Early Native-American mimbres pottery was drawn on for several reasons, one of which was ritual, mostly pertaining to burial processions. Some of the drawings are just records of what was happening - a fishing trip, a successful hunt, or maybe an exciting birth in the village. They drew on their pots what was relevant to them at the time. This is what I am trying to do with my drawings: recording things that are important to me - even though some of them may be fantasy.

    I try to capture the connection between life and objects in my artwork. The pottery is the
    object and the images are life. The choice to make objects that serve a function fortifies my
    attempts to convey life...

    more later.
    Love, John


    12 X 12

    Well, I have spent the morn getting settled into my temporary home at Fork Mountain Pottery. This morning I decided to do a little 12 X 12 action...that is, 12 pots by Noon 12.

    These were thrown off the hump (I don't even have an electric toothbrush, its good to have one if you are trying to throw off the me) and they will be trimmed and a trigger handle will be put on them.