Across the globe exist communities of makers, doers and thinkers all connected through their maverick pursuits of creativity. This summer we travelled to the south coast of England where we explored the creative mavericks of Cornwall.
In this special Maverick Streak, we connect with several inspired makers on the shores of these Great British Isles. Introducing Jake Boex, a ceramic artist who draws inspiration from spiritual philosophy and the geometry of the land that surrounds him, moved by his time spent teaching science in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu. We visited his studio to learn more about his process and his creative journey so far.
Words by Jake Boex | Photography by James Bowden
You’ve had quite an interesting journey to becoming a ceramic artist. Where did it all begin?
It started in the garden when I was a child, we’d play with clay, and it hasn't stopped since. During a PhD in climate science, I discovered the rate of retreat of the Patagonia ice-sheet by crushing small pieces of boulders that had been deposited at the edge of the ice. So I thought, ‘why not use this crushed rock as a glaze’. Also during this research, I took a trip to India for a brief course in meditation to ‘recharge the batteries’. I learnt that the mind and the earth system are interdependent, the implications of which I continue to unpack today. I like to try to integrate and express these seemingly opposing perspectives through the medium of clay.
How does everything you practice find it’s way into your ceramics?
Since I can remember, pondering has played a big part in daily life, it’s been a place that I find comfortable. It’s taken me to amazing places in the world and to unusual places in the mind. Quite naturally, because all is arising in the mind these weave together to create a pattern. It’s just a case of choosing the correct colours, in order to connect with others, to convey the journey.
You gather rocks and materials from various walks along the south coast, they find their way back into your work, there’s a real connection to the landscape, is there a wider message beyond the physical act of collecting and making you’re trying to communicate?
The working conclusion, if there is to be one, would be that we are ‘interconnected’, that the self and the mind, the earth and the cosmos are one thing. So this means that although we may experience temporary worries and anxieties we are really much bigger than these passing thoughts. This perspective leads onto the environment. Although we are experiencing the fruits of our actions in terms of consumption there lies a way out of this through acceptance, arriving at calm, inner recognition of our interconnected nature. From this perspective, the root cause of the current environmental crisis, greed and fear, fall away to be replaced by a sense of connection and love. The rationale is that the mind is interdependent.
Being an independent artist, how does the local community influence what you do and how you work?
Living in Cornwall there is a love of the sea, the communities are coupled with the ocean and so this shared sense of connection makes Cornwall a special place to be. There’s no doubt that this has played a part in shaping my work as a ceramic artist.
What does maverickness mean to you?
Thinking outside the circle.