John Aruffo - Exhibiting Artist
A sampling of John's work
In addition to Flametree Clay Art Gallery in Vero Beach my work is currently for sale at the at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art museum store in Bentonville, Arkansas. I have had pots on display at: the Vero Beach Art Museum, the A.E. Backus Museum and at the Orchid Island Beach Club.
I am a self-taught potter. I started as a teenager after my father brought home an old kick wheel and a broken institutional kiln, which we rebuilt and rewired. By the time I applied to college I was good enough to apply to and be accepted by a ceramic arts program. That was a path in my life not taken. I instead took a more conventional path.
In college I majored in Molecular Biology and went on to medical school. My wife and I met and were married during our residency in Houston. We moved to Arkansas where we had busy careers and raised two children. As I neared retirement I decided to return to pottery. I had always wondered how I would have done if I had stuck with pottery in college. After restarting I found that throwing pots was like riding a bicycle and with practice I became even better than I was before. We maintain Arkansas connections but spend most of our time in Vero Beach. I currently devote significant time and energy to my pottery. This has been both encouraged and tolerated by my wife. Right now I feel that I am in the right place in my life to continue down the path of being a potter. In Vero Beach I have found a very welcoming and supportive ceramics community. I plan to continue working in porcelain and experimenting with crystalline glazes. The beauty of the crystals captivates me and makes it worth all the additional work that goes into producing them.
The pots I create are all hand thrown, using either high fire porcelain or white stoneware clay. Most of the pieces are glazed with crystalline glazes, which have more vibrant colors when used over a white clay body.
Using crystalline glazes adds another dimension to the work. Geologically crystals form when molten rock cools slowly, allowing elements to migrate and re-form in a crystalline structure. During a glaze firing, when crystalline glazes are used, cooling the kiln slowly mimics this process artificially.
In the molten state, Zinc silicate crystals start to form and elements such as Cobalt and Copper migrate into the crystals giving them distinctive blue and green colors. The length of time the kiln is held at certain temperatures determines the size of the crystals and the temperature at which it is held determines their shape.
Crystalline shapes range from spikes and battle-axes to circles and flowers. People tend to think that I add crystals to the glaze or paint them on, but in reality the kiln does most of the work. I simply place the pots in the kiln, sprayed with or dipped in the glazes I make, and wait for the heat to work its magic.