Excerpt from “Power of Two”, Forward
“On the River through the Valley of Fire:
The Collaborative Ceramics of Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman”
By David W. Armstrong, Founder, American Museum of Ceramic Art
“Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman are two of our country’s most gifted ceramists, each having spent a lifetime mastering the ceramic medium. Both are established leaders in the field and both have examples of their individual artworks in various museum collections throughout the United States. One outstanding example of their collaborative artwork, “Turban (Heron) Vessel” (1986), is housed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
“One may wonder why two successful artists would come together to create a body of collaborative art. The answer is simple. Each recognizes that the other has talents as a ceramic artist that complement his own expert abilities and, most important, each has the aspiration to participate in the creation of artwork over and beyond his individual capabilities. They both acknowledge the potential for achieving spectacular results through their combined efforts. The two have also been friends for most of their careers, and each trusts the other to apply his particular talents to create the best possible artwork. Trust, unconditional trust, is what is necessary to create true collaborative art. Unconditional trust is absolute trust, with no strings attached, and requires total cooperation on the part of the participants, without being directive. If dual credit is to be given to the artists creating a collaborative artwork, the work itself must equally carry each artist’s contribution, without stipulation from the other.
“Once in a while, each of us has an opportunity to participate in an activity of great importance. Recognition of that opportunity is sometimes elusive, yet Coleman and Boyden not only recognized the opportunity of working together to create a body of collaborative artworks, they seized it, embraced it, and have made it a part of their lives for more than twenty years.
“Now that their ceramic pieces have come to fruition, the results are absolutely stunning. Each of the collaborative works represent fine-art ceramics in its purest state. It is the art itself that is the statement. Each piece stands proudly and is an example of the finest of ceramic art being created today. Furthermore, each piece is ready to endure the test of time and will become a cherished example of fine-art ceramics for the generations of the future.”
“The collaboration between Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman is a significant achievement in ceramics that will inspire and enrich the lives of others. It is an illustration of accomplishment beyond that of a single individual. It is a testimony to the ‘Power of Two’.”