For Christmas in 1974, my parents gifted me with a matte glazed stoneware teapot by Frank McNutt. It was an especially cold winter that year, and sitting around with my housemate and friends, in front of the fireplace, savoring tea steeped and served in that teapot, was life changing. I began to understand how the use of the handmade could be trans-formative.
While studying at the Virginia Beach Arts Center and Sandpiper Pottery in 1976, I began learning how to form clay into objects that would be useful as well as visually pleasing. What I do today is an amalgamation of all the advice I have received from potters far and wide, input from all the people who have purchased my work, and viewing, holding, and using objects that have visual, functional, and tactile appeal to me.
Glazes and firing
My glaze palette is primarily mattes, high alumina formulations that absorb light rather than reflect it, contrasted with unglazed areas, and splashed with high gloss glazes, often copper reds. Today I fire them in a 65 cu. ft. car kiln (in a reduction atmosphere), one I built in 1994. My pots are microwave and dishwasher safe, and safe to use in the oven provided the oven is not preheated.
I have always been fascinated with containers. I also find inspiration in the works of all the potters who derive(d) their ideas of what makes up a good pot from the Hamada, Leach, Cardew, Shimaoka, and Casson influences. Above all, my hope is that my pots occupy their spaces well.
My pots may be purchased here in Seagrove at my studio on Fork Creek Mill Rd; at Seagrove Creations right off of Exit 61 on Interstate 73/74/220; at Pea Island Gallery in Salvo, NC; at Seagrove Pottery here in Seagrove and in Cary, NC; My Mountain Home in Blowing Rock, NC; Fine Art @ Baxters in New Bern, NC; and Turning Leaf Wood Art in Blue Ridge, GA.
Tom Gray Pottery-handmade pots for the arts, acts and rituals of food preparation, serving and dining.
Me and Harold Moag, a longtime volunteer from Feeding America in Winston-Salem, NC.