John comes from a family of engineers going back several generations, so it was natural for him to follow suit. However, he made an unenthusiastic engineer, and after several years teaching he went back to college and gained a place on the 3D course at Manchester College of Art where he was introduced to clay for the first time.
After graduation, he set up his own pottery in Windermere in 1972.
For many years John made functional domestic ware firstly in earthenware and then stoneware. Later, he began to work more freely and respond to the material and the pots that he liked, particularly from the ancient past, and particularly primitive pottery – work made by simple means and quick techniques. For many years he also made raku pottery, mainly slab-built which he fired in his garden at home.
His work now is still mainly made on the wheel from a workshop at his home. John likes to work in a quick gestural way whether throwing or applying colour. He uses a technique of applying powdered ball-clay to the freshly thrown work to create strong textures.