In some ways, Jennifer Jong’s day job as a process engineer makes her perfectly suited to her other passion, pottery. While Jong’s day-to-day work puts an emphasis on products being complete and correct—and both engineering and throwing mugs foster her maker nature—ceramics allows her the creative freedom to work on different kinds of building, glazing and decorating, without necessarily achieving success. “There are a lot of failures in ceramics,” says Jong. “You’ll try a lot of things that either don’t work out or don’t turn out how you thought they would—so you have to be pretty accepting of loss and mistakes.”
One of Jong’s favourite pieces is this design she slip-cast from a vintage cut-glass bowl—just like the one your grandma would have displayed hard candies in—to create her signature geometric angles.
The ceramic artist fell in love with pottery through classes at her local art centre in Edmonton, and in 2019 she launched JYJ Ceramics. The failure rate of ceramics projects hasn’t stopped her from trying new techniques, like slip-casting, which uses plaster moulds made from found cut-glass pieces instead of a pottery wheel. While the forms themselves are often simple—mugs, bowls, vases—Jong overlays intersecting lines and circular patterns with a vintage vibe, often bringing in whimsical floral patterns and decorative carved bases. Jong’s current work includes a small collection of floral decals on mugs and vases for Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick.
“I find ceramics very soothing and it’s a great way for me to destress,” says Jong. “I can lose myself for hours on the wheel—when I get into a good rhythm, I can tune everything out and it’s relaxing and almost meditative.”