Tom JaszczakShafer, Minnesota

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Minneapolis, MN

Tom received a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Bemidji State University. After graduating, Tom apprenticed at Mill Creek Pottery for a year and learned the process of wood firing. Following he was an artist in Resident at the Cub Creek Foundation. Tom grew up in Minneapolis, MN and returned in 2010 where he was the recipient of a Jerome Project Grant through the Northern Clay Center and a Minnesota Arts Board Grant. He has been an assistant to Tara Wilson and a summer resident at The Armory Art Center in Florida and the Archie Bray Foundation. Most recently he started a Long Term residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT and has been focusing on developing a red earthenware soda fired body of work.

Form and Line drive my making. Line accents the changes in direction of rims, feet and form. These lines are physical and engage the user, but also serve to break up the pot visually. Formally my work has volume, it speaks of generosity. I respond to each form, as it is taken off the wheel or hand built, trying to be sensitive to each pots proportion, weight and gesture by working in a series. Form communicates a pots gesture; it speaks of utility, my pots reference common shapes and engage ones imagination. My pots are minimal and are rooted in the traditional Minnesota pottery I grew up admiring, I want my work to be paired down to the essentials and be truly useful. This brings emphasis on the fundamentals of pots. Interiors contain visual depth and are continuous with no obstructions for easy use. Exteriors are a place to make more physical statements.

The cumulative journey of a pot tells a story and the story brings the user into the moment of making and firing. Slips, trimming lines, finger marks, edges, wad marks and shadows capture a moment in time and tell more of the story. I want my pots to be grounded in form and have an identity as a material. The combination of slips and clays I use try to capture the potential of every firing. The array of colors and effects is exciting; opening a kiln is an adventure. I react to every firing with new ideas and new information; this keeps the overall process fresh and exciting. A successful pot has depth through these processes, obtains humbleness through form and thoughtfulness in function.