Metal sculptor and ceramicist Tom Williams will be the Featured Artist at the Village Gallery of Local Artists for the month of October 2023. A reception will be held on Friday, October 6th from 5 to 8 p.m. to showcase his work. Williams will be present to explain his process and demonstrate some of the unconventional techniques he utilizes to throw and alter spoon rests, soap dishes, and yunomis (small tea cups).
A professional artist for twelve years, Williams spent his first decade metalsmithing before delving into ceramics in 2021. Today, he handcrafts one-of-a-kind bells and sculptures, incorporating upcycled metals and ceramics. Williams also creates ceramic vessels, including dishes, bowls, cups, and urns. The glazes and finishes on his pieces reveal colors and extol the existing patterns natural to their surfaces.
In describing his creative process, Williams explains, “I watch thousands of videos, find a style I like, and then change it to make it mine.” His work has had a long path of development and transformation. “It’s still evolving and I think if it ever stops, that will be the end. Being an artist isn’t something I get to do. It’s something I have to do. The creative process is a journey and I can’t imagine not creating.”
Williams takes a multi-media approach to selecting his materials, whether metals, clay, or found objects. “Well, it certainly helps if someone commissions a piece. Inspiration can hit you anywhere and that starts the process. Now, I am exploring clay and that doesn’t mean I am done with metal. . . So, now it’s clay, tomorrow it may be something else. I just read an article about Pablo Picasso and he didn’t have only one medium. He dabbled in many. I think he set a great example.”
After years of working with larger sculptures and weightier materials, the more recent complexity has come with the pieces he creates more quickly and in greater quantity, such as cups and dishes. “Small pieces that I do over and over – the challenge is making them new or different, so I don’t feel like a manufacturer.”
And he’s always learning. “I am still improving my skills. I take classes and work at Reitz Ranch with groups of artists. . . Surrounding myself with creatives ignites inspiration.”
Williams appreciates the responses he receives about his work. “During a show at the Coconino Center for the Arts, the then-curator asked my wife if she had $10,000 he could borrow to purchase my piece, ‘Raven Steals the Sun.’ But more recently, I had another potter ask if I would like to trade some work. It always means more coming from another artist.”
In terms of what he would like art enthusiasts and collectors to know about his work, Williams advises, “If you like what I am making, come and get it. Because tomorrow I may be doing something else.”
The public is invited to meet Tom Williams and view his demonstration from 5-8 pm on Friday, October 6th. Refreshments will be served. The Village Gallery is located at 6512 State Route 179 in the Village of Oak Creek and is always accepting applications for unique art and new membership. For more information, go to sedonalocalartists.com or phone (928) 284-1416.