John Ferguson

Geelong born, potter/ceramicist John Ferguson has established a body of work that is unique and highly regarded amongst the ceramic community. John’s working life with clay began with employment at The Old Ballarat Pottery. Here he became an adroit thrower and developed a thorough understanding of clay as a 3-dimensional form. John has travelled extensively working with potters and exploring a variety of firing and ceramic techniques. Whilst in Perth, Ferguson was awarded an Australia Council Traineeship Grant, with Joan Campbell MBE as mentor that proved to be pivotal in the development of his career. They remained close until her death that proved to be the catalyst in the establishment of his practice and studio.

For John, life outside the studio is occupied with throwing demonstrations, conducting workshops or undertaking residencies that in turn have proven to be great opportunities to expand upon ideas for future directions. In recent times he has began a cross-cultural exploration with exhibitions and workshops at India’s National Ceramic Museum, Sanskriti Kendra, The nature of his work has been warmly embraced in New Delhi and Kolkata leading to the question; Where next will this wonderful medium take this artist and his oeuvre?

By using a potter’s wheel and skillful throwing techniques these hollow self-contained sculptural ceramic forms have evolved as vehicles to explore contrasting textures and its correlation to the form. When bone-dry these textured forms are sprayed with a terra siggilata (a fine clay slip) and then carefully burnished (polished). Placed in a saggar (a lidded cylinder made from a coarse clay) in the bisque state, the forms are nestled on a bed of sawdust and covered until the saggar is completely full. The sealed saggar is then fired in a heavily reduced oxygen deprived kiln atmosphere, during which the sawdust smolders, creating a carbonized black that infuses and permanently impregnates the burnished surface. This style of firing highlights the forms textural variations, enticing the viewer closer to examine and explore.


2012 - Delhi Blue Pottery. Invitational Workshops. Sanskriti Kendra, New Delhi. India.

2010 - Artist in Residence, Arts Academy, Ballarat University, Victoria. ARTS SA Funded.

2003 - Artist in Residence, Parks Community Complex, SA.

1987 to 2003 - Production Throwing for South Australian Potters.

1983 to 1987 - A P Y Lands: Craft Co-Ordinator, Kaljiti Crafts, Fregon, South Aust.

1981 to 1983 - Red Barn Gallery, Geelong, Victoria.

1980 to 1981 - New Zealand. Worked with NZ Potters. Introduction to Saggar Firing.

1978 - Traineeship. Crafts Board, Australia Council. Mentor: Joan Campbell WA.

1977 to 1978 - Trained as Thrower (domestic ware) Old Ballarat Pottery, Ballarat, Victoria.


2012 – “Surface” Gallery J, National Ceramic Conference, Adelaide, SA.

2011 - “Surface” Post Office Gallery, Ballarat, Vic.

2010 - BMGART. Adelaide SA

2008 - Skepsi on Swanston, Melbourne Vic

2003 - Viewer Viewed, Parks Community Complex, SA

2002 - Australian Craftworks, Sydney, NSW

2001 - Bulle Galleries, Melbourne, Vic

1999 - Exploring W)HOLE, BMGART, Adelaide, SA


 2014 - Still Firing at 45, Ceramics Victoria Anniversary, Whitehorse Art space, Victoria

2014 - The International Ceramic Conclave, Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India

2013 - “Expression of Self”, Skepsi Gallery, Monsalvat, Victoria.

2013 - Clunes Ceramic Award, Clunes, Victoria.

2012 - Sanskriti Kendra, New Delhi, India.

2012 - “Engaging Form”. Skepsi Gallery. Monstsalvat. Victoria

2011 - Clunes Ceramic Award, Clunes, Victoria

2011 - Arresting” Skepsi Gallery, Melbourne. Victoria.

2010 - Golden Earth. Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India.

2010 - South Australian Ceramic Award, SA

2010 - Clunes Ceramic Award, Clunes, Victoria

2009 - Ceramics Victoria. 40th Anniversary Exhibition, Melbourne, Vic

2009 - Craftsouth Wish List 09, Adelaide Central Gallery, Adelaide,SA

2007 - South Australian Ceramic Award, SA.

2007 - Gold Coast International Ceramic Award. QLD.

2006 - National Ceramics Conference, Brisbane, QLD

2005 - South Australian Ceramic Award, SA

2003 - SHOWING OFF…..again. V.C.G Skepsi on Swanston. Vic.

2003 - Gold Coast International Ceramic Award, Qld


University of Ballarat, Vic.

Bendigo Art Gallery, Vic  

City of Tea Tree Gully SA                    

Art Gallery of South Australia  

Ceramics Victoria.

Private Collections in India. USA, Japan, England, France and Australia.