Born in Madrid, Nebraska, John Mason was at the center of the American abstract ceramics movement throughout his education. Beginning at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, Mason left to work with Susan Peterson at Chouinard Art Institute where he worked as her lab technician. A year later in 1955, he returned to Otis to work alongside Peter Voulkos; joining a significant cohort of ceramists who would redefine the field including Paul Soldner, Kenneth Price, and Billy Al Bengston.Mason’s teaching career was prolific. He taught at Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeleybefore becoming being hired by the newly established University of California, Irvine in 1967. In 1974, Mason left Irvine to replace Susan Peterson at Hunter College in New York.