Jonquil Cook was born in London in 1969. She trained in contemporary dance and worked in theatre before choosing to specialise in printmaking and ceramics. Largely self-taught and trained through a series of informal apprenticeships with practicing ceramicists, Jonquil developed her own practice over years that led her from the snowy north woods of the USA to rural Burgundy, France, which was her home for more than fifteen years.
Now based at Thick as Milk studios in the old industrial site of Woolwich Dockyard Jonquil produces ceramic pieces from a range of high fired stoneware clays. Her richly decorative vases, jugs, bowls and platters are always entirely functional, with tried and tested food-safe glazes.
The relief surface on many of her pieces is achieved through the careful carving of contrasting coloured slip at the leather-hard stage, scraped away to reveal the bare clay body beneath. This technique is known as sgraffito and was of particular appeal to an artist whose previous artistic practice included lino-cut print making. As well as her smaller wheel thrown pieces Jonquil also makes large part thrown, part hand-built vessels that provide surfaces on which to carve free-hand her original designs. Inspiration and recurring themes stem largely from the immediate natural environment: trees, wild grasses, roadside flora, and even swimming Koi carp are frequent adornments to her pots.