John Bowers was born in Philadelphia, PA, moved to Wisconsin in 1971 and has been living in Milwaukee since 1982. He found clay and the pottery wheel in a high school art class. After working with his second high school art teacher, potter and painter, Richard Woopert on Raku demonstrations held for parent- teacher nights his love of clay was sealed.
When he went to college, John choose to major in engineering at UW-Waukesha. Somewhat disinterested he then went to Oshkosh and studied with Paul Donhauser. That was a short but meaningful experience. His next stop was UW-Madison with more engineering classes and ceramics with Don Reitz. Finally, John landed at UW-Milwaukee, was fed up with engineering and it was over. He made it to the ceramics department and decided to stay. Dick Evens, Karen Gunderman, Roy Bearens, Paula Rice and the sculptor Narendra Patel were his teachers. After college, various jobs and teachers including Marnie Elbaum and Jeff Knoska. He has attended workshops at NCECA in 1974, 2014, 2017.
John uses the potters wheel to express the narrative of the circle of life. He enjoys bringing a smile to people’s faces when they discover a connection to one of his pieces. Drawn to the wheel from the start John now finds himself in his 60th year starting seeing that going around in a circle is not all that bad. He is drawn to the maker-user scenario, as function dictates his forms.