John Jordan

John  Jordan (US)
John Jordan (US)

John Jordan is a woodturner from Cane Ridge (Nashville), Tennessee. Known primarily for his textured and carved hollow vessels, John has been featured in nearly every major turning exhibition the past twenty years.  His work has received numerous awards, and is in the permanent collections of many museums and corporations, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the American Craft Museum in New York City, the White House in Washington, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in Charlotte, the Fine Arts Museum in Boston, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts and the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.

John is in great demand as a demonstrator/teacher, traveling extensively teaching at universities, craft schools, turning groups and trade shows throughout the US, Canada, the UK, France, New Zealand, Australia and Japan, including an annual week or two at world famous Arrowmont school of Arts and Crafts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine.

His work is frequently seen in publications in several countries as well as articles written by him. In addition to his most recent video on the aesthetics and properties of wood, he has also produced two previous best selling woodturning videos, which received very favorable reviews.

John’s pieces are initially turned on the lathe, from fresh, green logs, using a number of techniques and tools that have evolved over the years. Each piece is then hand carved and textured, using a variety of different hand and small powered tools. This texturing process is very labor intensive, and can take as much as several days to weeks to complete. There is little room for error during this carving- one small slip can ruin the piece. A light lacquer finish is applied to most pieces, including the dyed work. (Text from John Jordan website, July 2016)

John Jordan Artist Statement

The pieces I make are simple but finely detailed vessels. Manipulating the color and patterns in the wood to complement the form, and the texturing and carving to create visual and tactile contrasts are important parts of the process and the result. What I feel is most important is the intangible quality that the piece is “right” that comes with putting emotion and feeling into the work. A simple object can be very powerful and emotional just for what it is. These pieces are simply decorative vessels that reflect my interest in surface textures/contrasts and form, and the personal responses that I have to them, which I suspect are similar to the feelings that makers of objects have felt for thousands of years.”

“I am inspired by many natural things – trees, rock formations, coral reefs – since all of these things exhibit pattern, texture etc. Ethnic objects such as pots, weavings and baskets are interesting to me as well, along with much contemporary craft and art. Any sort of art inspires, and I enjoy museum visits wherever I travel.”

“Probably the single largest influence at any time is the work I am currently making.   It never fails to provoke and provide ideas.   I am always curious to find out what I will do next.”

“Many of the woods that I use are from the dump, construction sites etc. I find great satisfaction in creating elegant objects from material that was destined to be buried or burned.”

“Using fresh cut logs in my work, the wood is a very direct and responsive medium, with properties that are unique-not about the “woodiness” but the working qualities that it has. With my knowledge of the material, I can exert a great deal of control over the desired result. I am able to work with surface textures and shapes that would sometimes be difficult in other materials. I am, however, connected to the material of wood as a potter is connected to the clay-it’s what I do and who I am”. (Text from John Jordan website, July 2016)

> John Joordan website

Public Collections

  • AmSouth Bank; Birmingham, AL
  • Arkansas Arts Center; Little Rock, AR
  • Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts; Gatlinburg, TN
  • Art Museum of South Texas; Corpus Christi, TX
  • Bank of Nashville; Nashville, TN
  • Birmingham Museum of Art; Birmingham, AL
  • Carnegie Museum of Art; Pittsburgh, PA
  • Cincinnati Art Museum; Cincinnati, OH
  • Columbus Art Museum; Columbus, GA
  • Currier Museum of Art; Manchester, NH
  • The Contemporary Museum; Honolulu, HI
  • Detroit Institute of Arts; Detroit, MI
  • Fitzwilliam Museum; Cambridge; United Kingdom
  • Fuller Craft Museum; Brockton, MA
  • Gelman Library; George Washington University; Washington DC
  • The Gregg Museum of Art & Design; North Carolina State University
  • High Museum of Art; Atlanta, GA
  • Hunter Museum of Art; Chattanooga, TN
  • Kamm Teapot Foundation; Encino, CA
  • Knoxville Museum of Art; Knoxville, TN
  • LA County Museum of Art; Los Angeles, CA
  • Long Beach Museum of Art; Long Beach, CA
  • Mint Museum of Craft + Design; Charlotte, NC
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Minneapolis, MN
  • Mobile Museum of Art; Mobile, AL
  • Museum of Art and Design; NY, NY
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Boston, MA
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Houston, TX
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art; Philadelphia, PA
  • Racine Museum of Art; Racine, WI
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum – Renwick Gallery; Washington, DC
  • Tennessee State Museum; Nashville, TN
  • Victoria & Albert Museum; London, England
  • The Wood Turning Center; Philadelphia, PA
  • The White House Collection of American Crafts; Washington, DC
  • Yale University Art Gallery; New Haven, CT