Since 1984 Marie and I have been working here, outside the small town Skara in the western part of Sweden.
I usually work with thrown pieces in stoneware clay, jars or cylinders, covering them with a dark layer of slip. The glazes are an essential part of the expression, crawling, bubbling thick layers invites a bit of hazard in to my work. I fire in an old gas kiln.
“The glaze covering Jussi Ojala’s ceramic works seems to burst, breaking up in mysterious patterns and gliding down along the sides of the vessel until coming to a halt in thick bulges resting around its base. Often, the glaze appears to make up but a recalcitrant partner to the underlying form, unruly and defiant sometimes to the point of threatening to part ways with its companion. At the same time, however, the two remain prerequisites to each other. They are united, though not in some shared singularity but rather cohabiting in a duality that draws attention to the distinct character of its separate components. If during modernism’s period the Swedish ceramic artists enjoyed draping their glaze like a tight-fitting glove on a harmonious vessel body, the glazes on Jussi Ojala’s pieces sit like a restless, swelling mass on forms that themselves seem warped and trembling.
We are confronted by a movement that has frozen in its course, yet without repose in tranquillity. Our gaze is not allowed to settle and rest. The glazes break open, but not, to be sure, for the sake of revelation. On the contrary, they do their utmost to obscure the real shape of the vessel. The forms remain concealed beneath the irregular, haphazard patterns and relief effects, and the contours of the vessel’s body become altered by the thickness of the glaze. What results is seldom beauty in its immediate sense; rather, these pieces fascinate us with their capricious and coarse nature. However, in Jussi Ojala’s works from the past few years, we also find many instances of unexpected beauty suddenly emerging from the midst of all that we encountered as eruptive and deformed. Here it can be a pot in which the convulsions of the glaze are arrested in a sort of guarded concentration, as if only to gather strength before the final fit. The beauty is in the brinkmanship of this balancing act. In another piece, fragments of the shattered surface of a white glaze assemble in a cluster like sparkling snowflakes falling over a night sky; we stand before this vessel like a child staring at the stars.
Jussi Ojala’s ceramic works frequently display a close connection to nature and, maybe above all, an affinity to the fundamental human condition. Personal experiences and impressions are compressed into pieces that on the whole can only be described as monumental. The monumentality of the pieces lies not always in their dimensions but in their complexity – they constitute something that is a product of both a clearly formulated vision and a volatile process.”
- Love Jönsson 2006