A Potter Travels Asia | Jesse Golden | Episode 658


Jesse Golden | Episode 658

Jesse Golden owns and operates J.G Clay working to create ceramics to inspire. In 2019 he left his marketing career for a 5 month ‘Ceramic Sabbatical’ where he participated in residencies, home stays, and studio visits throughout Asia. He is a maker at heart and loves to inspire his student’s creativity.


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You sold everything and headed to Asia. Why Asia?

Asia caught my attention because it’s the ancient part of ceramics. It’s where it started, at least in my mind, obviously every culture has it’s own pottery techniques and styles, but in my mind it really started in Asia so going there and seeing it first hand really drew me in. I love to travel and I love to see any and every style of pottery so this trip was really a way to open my eyes to the styles I could never see in America.

How was it going there with no real language under your belt?

Yeah, it was tough. It was tough but doable. Fortunately I speak English which is kind of the traveler’s language and is mostly taught in any school around the world. China was probably the toughest place. I came to find that potters instead of really dedicating their studies to language they dedicated their studies to pottery. But that being said, you know, potters around the world are just so open to showing and telling and teaching their own styles so I just found that anyone in the pottery world that I would rub shoulders with was so open to helping me along, to showing me what they are working on. And I show excitement and it would bring them excitement even though we couldn’t communicate with words we would just kind of express ourselves in different ways and get out point across. I got by. I got by.

Where you more looking for the experience of the culture or were you trying to capture some skills. 

Yeah, both. I’ve always loved traveling and I’ve always loved diving into different cultures so experiencing a culture through their ceramics, through their art, was really what the trip became. I would be able to touch their local raw materials and see the forms that they make and learn why they make those forms, for their tea ceremonies which are so ingrained in their culture. So it really went hand in hand every place I went.

What was the most important thing you learned about the culture?

I guess the theme throughout all these different countries and rubbing shoulders with these potters who made clay their life, really seeing how they lived their life. How they made their career. How they think about clay and how they think about their own work. That was pretty instrumental in the trip and really something I have been pondering since I’ve come back on a daily basis. It’s been getting the wheels turning for my own career in the craft.

What skill did you come home with that you didn’t have before you left?

Yeah, I can throw big now. I’ve always wanted to throw big and you’ve really got to sit down and do it again and again and again. I was working with a pug mill right next to me and just throwing it, breaking it, throwing it, breaking it. That repetition really helped to get me to where I want to be. Obviously we are always still learning but that is definitely  one thing that was my objective and goal going in and came out where I wanted to be.

If you went on another trip would you go back to Asia or is there another part of the world you would like to concentrate on?

I made some good friends around Asia that I definitely want to go back to eventually, but you’ve got to keep looking and keep seeing. Italian clay is definitely a draw. Middle Eastern clay, that’s an ancient style that I don’t know too much about and so that’s on the horizon but right now I’m happy to be back and working on establishing myself here so don’t even get me started on traveling.

Where do you see yourself in the next six months?

Six months is exactly the timeline that I am looking into. I am hoping to build an educational studio. I love working on my own work and I love working on the production life but I like teaching even more. Really inspiring other people’s creativity and facilitating their ideas and telling them what tools to use and trying to take those ideas and put them into clay,that really appeals to me. So I am hoping to build an educational studio somewhere around Boston and really build a community around my passion and my love for clay.


Contagious by Jonah Berger 



Instagram: @jcgolden6

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