Thomas Perry

As a potter, I concentrate on vessel forms. I am attracted to the co-themes of their use as containers and servers for food and beverage and their metaphoric meaning as containers and servers of space and spirit. I am awed and inspired by the myriad forms that a variety of craftspeople and cultures have created throughout human history for everyday use and ritual functions. I strive to pay homage to this rich history by challenging myself through my work processes and personal interpretations to create ceramic vessels that add spirit and pleasure to one’s life through their use and presence.

By nature, I tend to work in a few different styles rather than focusing on one. For basic functional wares, I use white stoneware and porcelain clays for their smooth surfaces and response to color, including color within the clay. I often develop layered and patterned combinations of colored clays for wheel-throwing and slab-building for both functional and more decorative vessels. Slicing and carving into the swirling surfaces of wheel-thrown vessels exposes variegated patterns resembling mineral and rock cores, wood grains, and exposed earth strata, while stretching clay slabs during hand-building distorts and expands patterns. The results usually surprise me and also remind me of the geological processes the earth undergoes to produce the clays and glaze materials I employ. Recently, I have been working on a series of tall “guardian urns” incorporating sprigged and carved symbols on the surfaces to represent respect for nature and for lived lives. I enjoy moving back and forth between these styles. Exploring a new form or surface element in one style releases a new idea for another, linking my creative cycles to history, tradition, and the earth.