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They Named Her John is the work of ceramic artist Jessica Phillips.

Jessica’s early years were spent in Upstate New York. The daughter of an engineer and a photographer, she grew up in her father’s workshop and her mother’s darkroom. When she wasn’t busy there, she could usually be found exploring the woods or making dirt bowls on the muddy banks of the stream near her house.

Jessica earned a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in ceramics at The University of Texas Austin. While working professionally as a graphic designer, Jessica has continued to work with ceramics for over 20 years. Currently Jessica works out of her home studio in Houston, TX.

Artist Statement

There is nothing more beautiful to me than the subtle complexity of human interactions. The place where people come together, the space between us and the emotional energy it holds. Through my work, I seek to illuminate these interactions, to highlight the tension between our physical separateness and our emotional connectedness.

In my ceramics practice, I frequently create groups of vessels that interact with each other. Sometimes placed near each other, sometimes even crushed together while still wet and then bound to one another, embodying the energy of human emotion as well as the weight of our obligations to one another.

They Named Her John: The Story

Before me, was her. John was my paternal grandmother. She was named after her father who passed away shortly before her birth. She was remarkable. An artist, a mother of four, a person who weathered much good and bad in her lifetime. She was someone who followed her dreams…when she could.

When I launched my business, I wanted to find a way to honor the inspiration she has provided in my life. I chose to reference her name as a way to celebrate the part of her that is in me.

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