John Wilhelm was born in East London, South Africa in 1947 and attended Florida Park High School in Johannesburg. At the age of 30, he became a full-time student at Natal University, Pietermaritzburg, studying under Hilda Ditchburn, Juliet Armstrong and David Walters.
In 1980 he was apprenticed to Bryan Haden in Gordon’s Bay and specialised in wood-fired reduction functional ware. In 1981 he started lecturing part-time at the Stellenbosch Technical College. At the same time he started Mill Street Pottery in Strand with Verena Baraga, working with slip decorated functional ware.
He was then introduced to under glaze earthenware colours by Chris Silverston and in 1989 he had his first one-man exhibition at The Potter’s Shop, Kalk Bay.
He currently produces high fired functional ovenware in plain colours decorated with his hand-moulded stamps. He does wheel work as well as moulded forms and sometime combines both principles to form pedestal pieces. John supplies numerous galleries and sells from his studio in Somerset West.