Roland TomsicMissoula, Montana

Red Lodge Clay Center –  Ted Neal Kiln Building (AIA) 2023

Roland Tomsic is a BFA ceramics student studying at the University of Montana. His pottery is utilitarian and based around human relationship with the making process. Roland grew up in Fort Collins Colorado and started crafting pottery in high school ceramics. Eventually moving to Montana to pursue a degree in Environmental Science, he later pivoted to pursue art. His shift to a degree in art and the intention behind his work both stem from a desire to make an impact on human interaction and to understand individuals and their interaction with the world. In the past six years his work has evolved from a funky and colorful electric fired style into an atmospheric one filled with richness and texture.

I strive to improve human connection through pottery. From drinking a morning cup of coffee or tea, to grabbing a bar of soap from a dish to wash your hands or eating a bowl of soup for dinner; having a piece of handmade pottery to aid in those everyday tasks makes life just a little sweeter.

My ceramics style is still evolving. My current work is made with process in mind. As a student I am always learning new methods and approaches to include in my pieces. Currently, I have been enjoying the experience of making as well as adding a personal flair to my work.

Wood kilns have become my favorite method of firing. Viewing a wood fired pot is like looking through a microscope. The surfaces created in a wood setting grasp my attention and allow a further investigation of the work for me as an artist and for the viewer. Every square inch has a unique surface full of richness and narrative. The way the flame travels through the kiln and how it interacts with the pottery tells a beautiful story— the bare spots left behind by wadding, the throwing rings traveling up the inside walls of pots, and the fingerprints left in flashing slips all allow the viewer of the work know that these pieces have had so much time put into them, creating a very human experience. I always enjoy hearing about the various ways people use my pots. I am intrigued by the intention and use that others put behind my work.

The community setting surrounding the wood kiln also speaks to me as an artist. I feel that the processes and experience of making a ceramic object informs its use and meaning. Hours of labor, staying up through the night telling jokes and stories, and working towards a common goal all form a significant product. Every time I use a mug, jar, or bowl I’m reminded of these experiences and labor I have put into my own work. As a result, I enjoy the practice of using and making handmade pots even more.