John Jordan was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1950. Like many wood artists he worked in a different profession, as a computer service engineer in banking, before focusing his attentions on wood-turning full-time from 1987. Self-taught, Jordan is best known for his simple yet finely detailed vessels and for the fact that he often uses wood found on construction sites or dumps. The emotion and feeling for natural materials, especially wood, and for the forms that he creates are central to Jordan’s aesthetic. He has described himself as ‘being connected to the material of wood as a potter is connected to clay – it’s what I do and who I am.’
Using fresh-cut or 'green' wood, which is easier to turn and carve, Jordan seeks to emphasise contrasts within a single form and its material. Here he juxtaposes the simple shape of the vessel with the intricate detail of its surface carving, an effect that can take weeks to achieve. The four panels, which are framed by sharply incised borders, are left uncarved and polished to a high sheen which shows off the grain of the wood. The rest of the vessel however, is finely and uniformly tooled to create an almost shimmering textured effect. There are also contrasts in the form itself: the small open neck and flat base emphasise the full roundness of the vessel with the concave tops and convex sides of the panel borders adding further to this effect. This vessel is one of two called ‘Black and White Pair’ and so its bleached off-white colour provides yet another contrast, this time against the blackened colour of its pair.