My ceramic work has been indelibly influenced by having lived and worked in Japan as a ceramic artist for thirteen years. Growing up as the son of a ceramist, I have been surrounded by clay all of my life. My mother started working in clay when I was in pre-school, and she would often take me to her lessons rather than hire a baby-sitter. From an early age I absorbed the vocabulary of clay, but it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to travel to Kyoto after college that I realized ceramics would form my life’s work. In Japan I apprenticed with respected masters and studied the art of ancient craftsmen in museums.
My bronze vessels flow from having worked as a ceramic artist, influenced by the Orient and its aesthetics for over thirty years. Thirteen of those years I spent in Japan training in the discipline of traditional pottery making. My vessels are a reflection of my years living in Japan, and the time I spent studying with all my teachers, including Betty Woodman at the University of Colorado. There are many sources of inspiration that indelibly influenced my work, including the numerous collections of ceremonial Chinese bronzes that I was drawn to in Japan and in the United States, and seeing my first dotaku, or Japanese bronze age bell. My vessels are intended to open a door to the past, and reflect the sacred use bronze vessels had in ancient China where they were used to contact ancestors for guidance, and to channel prayers to the Divine. The person who owned a bronze vessel was seen by others as powerful in both spiritual and political realms. I have exhibited and sold my work at numerous one man shows throughout Japan, including the art galleries of Takashimaya, Seibu, and Isetan in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kyoto. My last one man exhibition in Japan was in the art gallery of the Kobe Daimaru Department Store which has been in business since the 1600’s.
My studio is in Boulder, but I frequently return to Japan to exhibit and to refresh my knowledge and appreciation of its art and aesthetics. I work alone, living between countries, cultures, and traditions. My vessels represent a path between those borders that have been touched by different influences in time and space.
(In 2011-12, Tom's works range in price from $350 for raku and stoneware to $3000. to $5500 for bronze vessels.)