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Tom Coleman

American, b. 1945

Test Site Series (Las Vegas)

4.25 x 26.75 x 25.5 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

For more than fifty years, Tom Coleman has refined his craft, working with classic, well-balanced porcelain and stoneware forms, all faultlessly thrown. Coleman has continually perfected glazes throughout his career, including the “test site” glazes he developed in response to the destruction of the Nevada desert by atomic bomb testing during the mid-twentieth century. The huge Test Site Series platter here has a dry, cracked, and textured surface with the look and feel of the desert.

Coleman was born in Amarillo, Texas, and traveled to the Pacific Northwest for his BFA in Portland, Oregon, in 1968. For nearly twenty years he taught and did studio work in the Portland area. In 1987 he made a notable move to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he taught for thirteen years. From 1974 to 1993 he maintained a collaboration in Oregon with fellow ceramist Frank Boyden (see Boyden’s Birth of a Bird). Coleman threw the vessels, including bowls and vases, while Boyden drew, carved into, and manipulated the surfaces, often depicting animals; the resulting pots were mostly wood fired. Coleman has written a great deal on the subject of ceramics and has himself been the subject of many published reviews.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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