Tom Gray, Gray Pottery
About the Artist
My process includes making pots on the wheel as well as rolling out slabs and forming them into dinnerware. My glaze palette is primarily satin mattes, high alumina formulations that absorb light rather than reflect it, contrasted with un-glazed areas, and occasional gloss glazes. I fire my pots in a propane fueled kiln I built, in a reduction atmosphere to almost 2900 degrees F. My pots are microwave and dishwasher safe and safe to use in the oven provided the oven is not preheated. My motto for some time has been - “Tom Gray Pottery is dedicated to making pots for ‘breaking bread‘- those special times when we put our feet under the table and refuel - not only our bellies, but our hearts, minds, and spirits too.” My experiences around the family kitchen table from childhood, and on my own as a young adult, have influenced my direction as an artist and craftsman. Today, my wares are used in kitchens and dining rooms all over the world.
I fell in love with the idea of handmade pots in 1974, when my parents gave me a stoneware teapot for Christmas. I fell in love with the idea of handmade pots in 1974, when my parents gave me a stoneware teapot for Christmas. That teapot became the focal point of evenings after supper, with my housemate and our friends; just sitting on the floor around a squat Japanese table sipping Celestial Seasonings teas, and talking about surfing, camping, politics, and whatever else crossed our minds. That handmade teapot had a huge impact on me and how I viewed art, and more importantly, craft.
Two years later (at age 26) I began studying at the Virginia Beach Arts Center and later at Sandpiper Pottery. I began learning how to form clay into objects that would be useful as well as visually pleasing. I became hooked on the whole concept and eventually opened up Tom Gray Pottery in July 1978, on the shores of Lake Gaston, NC. In 1990 I moved to Seagrove, NC, a small town with a history steeped in handmade pottery. As of this writing, I’m almost 70, and have been making pots for 44 years. When I look back, like any other adult, I can see life mistakes I’ve made, and can think of things I should have done, and things I wish I hadn’t. But, I have never regretted becoming a full-time potter.