Thursday, February 17, 2011

In Memory of JZ................

February 17, 1951 - December 12, 2008

During the last few weeks of John's life, the wonderful Jane Kaufmann visited us at home and interviewed John in order to create a collaborative piece for the NH Potters Guild biennial exhibition.  Knowing that John was  not able to work in clay any longer, it was decided between them that Jane would make a raku fired pedestal that would hold a pot of his choosing.  Jane would carve a narrative into it that would reflect the conversations that they had together.  The two of them e-mailed back and forth until it was decided what the pedestal would say.  Jane called me to let me know that the pedestal was finished and would John like to choose a glaze color... I had to break the news to her that John had died over the weekend.
Jane chose the glaze color and delivered the pedestal to me so that I could choose a pot to go on top.  It was a hard decision and I changed my mind many times before the exhibition.  I finally settled on a teapot.  Mary Barringer, potter and current editor of Studio Potter magazine, was the juror for the exhibition and she chose the collaborative for an award... she said she was very moved by the piece.

I know I have posted about this in the past, but today would have been John's 60th birthday and I felt like I needed to tell his story again.  I brought the storytelling piece outside to photograph since it is a lovely warm day... and the crocus are blooming.  

the bottom line reads "i love the smell of wet clay"
this one is my favorite: "i am a three guitar man, music came before clay, i love movies and good storytelling too.   i have never chased a dollar, decided if i was going to be broke i might as well be broke doing something that i love"
when i read this i can hear john's voice in my head and heart

tonight i will open up a good bottle of scotch that has been waiting for today...
here's to you zen cowboy... i miss you every day.


  1. Thanks Michèle! I'll crack open the bottle of Bowmore I got for Christmas as well!

    Happy birthday JZ!

  2. What an absolutely beautiful piece!!!! thanks so much for sharing this, I just loved reading it. I wish I had clay in my life when my dad was dying from cancer, I would like to have done something for him.....

  3. How wonderful to have this beautiful collaborative piece and such wonderful memories, thanks for showing us.

  4. Great story, great pottery, great memories.
    Thanks for sharing

  5. That is such a wonderful piece and moving commemoration. I remember John from my New Hampshire days. I'm so sorry to hear he's gone.

  6. Nick - where you living in NH? if so when?

  7. Oh my gosh. This hit me twice because the initials, JZ are the same as my BFF's son who lost his life in a vehicular accident five years ago. They buried him on his 23rd birthday in February.

    Jeffrey "Jeph" Zendejas. So, I so appreciate this post and memorial to your John. And, I hold the title close to heart in memory of our loss of Jeph...

    I remember when I first commented that I hadn't realized your loss. This work of art is a beautiful memorial.

    Thank you for sharing....

  8. Michelle,

    I went to UNH in 1988 and then returned in 1994 to open a seasonal studio in Hillsboro. I kept that place going for 4 seasons before leaving for North Carolina. For a while, I also worked with my friend Rick Elkin up in Warner. I think Rick and Jeff worked together at Salmon Falls for a time.

  9. I love the fact you brought JZ back to life... Paul and I think about him often, and his tea pot.


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