Thomas Porter first discovered his love of clay at Brescia College in Owensboro, KY, where he received a B.A. in 1986. An art scholarship in 1985 from Brescia allowed Thomas to study pottery and travel in China, Korea and Japan. This trip continues to influence his work.
Thomas throws his pottery on a wheel with great skill and attention to form. Most of his work is Raku pottery, a process where clay is glazed, fired in a kiln at a lower temperature than usual and then cooled very quickly in either combustible materials or water. Once the glaze melts, the orange-yellow hot piece is removed and placed in a pit or metal barrel filled with straw, dried grasses, shredded newspaper or other materials that ignite immediately. A lid is placed over the pit or barrel to snuff out the fire, creating a reduction or smoke filled atmosphere which gives the copper and iron in Thomas’ glazes their velvet rich color and darkens the surface of the clay. The dark crackle on some pieces is the result of smoke and carbon trapped in the cooling glaze.
Thomas Porter’s work can be found at Appalachian Fireside Gallery, Berea, KY; National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY; Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft, Louisville, KY; and Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY