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With Inspiration from the Island
Jessica Kovack’s Gilded Treasures

By Heather Goff

Born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, Jessica Kovack’s education and first vocation was architectural and interior design. She met her husband, Gary, when he was stationed at the Menemsha Coast Guard, and both their jobs relocated them to the mainland. They returned to the Island when they decided to raise a family. Wanting to stay home with, and work around, her children’s schedule, Jessica discovered her flair for creating functional pottery, thus establishing JK Designs.

Jessica applies the same form-balancing-function aesthetic underpinning her architectural designs in her functional and stunning ceramic work. Inspired by the Island’s landscapes, with sand, water, and sky colors, her shapes have a simplicity that awaken a sense of comfort and home coming. Holding one of her mugs between the palms feels very grounding. What makes them pop, though, is the gold leaf that she applies in a final glaze firing. It evokes that glimpse of special inspiration and insight that the Vineyard gifts its residents.  

Wheel thrown and then fired in two separate glaze firings, Jessica’s pieces are food and dishwasher safe. The gold ornamentation is applied by slip trailing the metal onto the surface which requires a steady hand, a superb eye for design, and exceptional skill. Jessica jokes that it comes from all the hours that she spent at the drafting board.  

As she started JK Designs to work while being a full-time mom, she and her children often enjoy creative studio time together. This Easter, she took one of their projects to Donaroma’s with a clay egg decorating workshop. Children glazed their clay eggs, she fired them, and they picked them up the next day. Jessica hopes to continue offering family friendly seasonal classes in partnership with the nursery. Look for ornament decorating this December!

Jessica expresses gratitude for the Island community and its support of local artists, which birthed her ceramic career. We are grateful as well, as her pieces enrich our homes and remind us of all that we love about the Island.  

You can find Jessica’s (JK) designs at Donaroma’s Nursery and Juniper in Edgartown, and Aquila on the Cliffs, in Aquinnah. She also creates custom pieces for venues and special events.