Jon Roylance has been an artist and educator in the Lehigh Valley for over thirty years. After graduating from Elmira College with a degree in Studio Art and Art Education, Jon went to the University of Denver to earn his MFA in Ceramics, working with noted ceramic artist Maynard Tischler. Coming back to Allentown in 1980 he began his teaching career at the Centennial School of Lehigh University as art instructor /art therapist. Subsequent teaching positions included the Bethlehem School District and his present position as instructor at William Allen High School working in the Allentown Academy of the Arts. Many of his students have gone on to successful careers in the arts, including such positions as graphic designers, architects, industrial designers, educators, illustrators, and ceramic artists. Jon has consistently produced work from his own studio through all the years of his teaching career and has participated in many shows in the area.
Jon’s work in clay has progressed through many stages over the years. While originally starting out as a functional potter in college, over the course of his time in graduate school and beyond he came to see clay as a more sculptural material. Although he still makes pots, Jon is not overly concerned about their function; he simply enjoys the world of vessels. Many of the works presently being made are either Raku or Saggar Fired, both processes which produce pieces which can be seen as marginally functional at best. The low fire techniques used produces dramatic surfaces, but the nature of the firings requires clay that is never really fired to maturity, so one would suppose the only function these pieces have is for storage of dry material or to occupy visual space while pleasing the eye. Jon has worked most lately on unglazed surfaces in which the interaction of the clay with smoke, fire, and colorants is the important concern. He has developed various formulas to encourage such surfaces and continues to look for new ways to enhance this all important aspect of his work. The forms Jon produce are most often wheel thrown, and then altered, cut, pierced or in some way changed from their original shape. He keeps in mind the overall effect of the smoke and fire on the forms he produces and is always searching for the best combination of form and surface treatment. It is a search that he never tires of and for over thirty years has loved.
In addition to the more sculptural pots that are mentioned above, Jon produces a line of functional stoneware vessels- pieces for use around the home. All stoneware pots are lead free, oven and microwave safe. A variety of items including casseroles, mugs, bowls, pitchers, covered jars and many more forms are available. Each piece, although made in the style of production ware, is unique and one of a kind.