Porcelain Passion

Artist has been fired up by medium for 26 years



Traditionally, flowers or nature themes are the subjects on porcelain. Sue Jones also paints Southwestern-themed work.

The first time Sue Jones' passion for porcelain started to overwhelm the Jones' Ohio home, her husband built on an extra room.

Sue had a studio where she could paint lush roses on white porcelain plates and Harry had a place to sell his handcrafted cabinets.

In her Payson studio, the roses, peonies, children and songbirds she has painted on a wide variety of porcelain, surround her.

Painting porcelain is "almost an obsession" for Jones.

Before the average piece is ready to serve food or beverages on, Jones paints and fires it at least three times.

It is a time-consuming process, done in stages.

Oftentimes, Jones does her own gold leafing.

Deeper colors require more coats of paint, so the color becomes bold when refired.

Fired for an hour-and-a-half at 1,100 to 1,500 degrees, each dish must cool completely before Jones removes it from the kiln, or it will crack.

Table service for 12 is the most time consuming set Jones has ever done.


Jones is able to keep the design flowing around round elements, such as this vase. A design of birds, berries.

"I think there were 72 pieces in all," she said.

She painted a different orchid on each place setting as a gift for her son's wedding in Hawaii.

A man from the Bushmasters, a World War II organization, ordered a custom plate with the Bushmaster logo on it.

She has painted portraits on jewelry boxes and portraits in cameo jewelry.

Forty tiles with Arizona animals frame a kitchen counter in a Pine home. Jones painted the canisters to match.

"When the man who owned the house saw them, he told his wife they needed another set, in case they moved back to Colorado. So they commissioned another set," Jones said.

The basket of wildflowers Jones painted on tiles above the stove match the wildflowers on the hanging lamp and around the fireplace.

"In Ohio, I worked with decorators to match tiles to wallpaper, carpet and other floor coverings," she said.

It is something she is ready to do again.

An instant affinity

Her retired high school physical education teacher gave Jones her start painting porcelain, 26 years ago.

"I had painted all my life, so when she asked me if I wanted to try, I said yes," Jones said.

She fiddled around and made her first flower.

"My husband's aunt collected antiques and asked if I could touch up some pieces," Jones said.

She did, then, happily abandoned her canvases, oils and watercolors for the new medium.

Just as dinner plates have grown several inches over the years, so has Jones' art.


Jones' husband's woodwork displays her many pieces of finely painted porcelain.

She has learned just how much paint to use, so the design remains true and the colors do not run when she fires the piece.

Some of the more unusual porcelain items she paints are: Nut scoops, fan pulls, tea bag rests, footed bowls, and tooth fairy boxes.

Her Arizona toothpick holder keeps the dust out.

The most-asked question she gets when people visit her studio or see her work at art shows is about her painted pie servers. They are round, rather than pointed.

Jones will show her work by appointment and is happy to create custom designs.

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