American James Lovera is known for making exquisite forms with equally exquisite glazing. He carved a place in mid-century and contemporary ceramics with his focus for thin flared bowls,and highlytextural volcanic crater glazesthat mimic plant life, lichen, and moss. NEHMA is fortunate to have an example of afrothy beach foam effect combined with a turned aluminum component. Lovera preferred to work with a porcelaneous stoneware clay mix. He purposely emphasizes thinness in his throwing. A doughnut of clay is joined to the bottom of the vessel with slip and then the foot is thrown on the overturned bowl. He uses a high fire bisque fire, cone 5-6, to strengthen his thin-edged pieces for the glaze firings. A black or brown slip is applied and fired after the bisque firing to form a foundation for the glaze. Prior to the actual glazing,the pots are heated in an oven; his glazeswerethen sprayedon in thin repeated layers. These lava glazes are produced by the action of glaze chemistry off-gassing during firing.Generally,the ‘truth’ of the ceramics process from wet to firedis shrinkage and reduction of volume and increased density –whereas, with this sort of glaze type there is expansion with runs counter to this “truth.”
Lovera grew up in Hayward, California where he took a number of high school art courses, then continued his studies at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Heparticipated in the 1939 World's Fairon Treasure Island, San Francisco, where he watchedthrowing demonstrations byGertrud and Otto Natzler, Carlton Ball and Marguerite Wildenhain. After his graduation in 1942, James began creating pottery in his home studio and studiedwith famed potters—Marguerite Wildenhainand Antonio Prieto.Lovera credits Wildenhain's work ethic as an important influence on his studio practice. He soon gained recognition and was offered a faculty position at San Jose State University in 1948. He treasured his sabbatical year in Japan in 1976 pursuing his love of Asian art. Loveraretired as Professor Emeritus after 38 years teaching color, design and ceramics.Among others,his work is included in the collections of The Mint Museum of Craft & Design in Charlotte, NC; the New York Museum of Modern Art; Taipei, museums in Shigaraki, Japanand Taiwan, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. By concentrating on perfecting form, James Lovera’stextures and hues exemplify midcentury Modernfor clarity of form and by pushing glaze experimentation to the edge.