About Tom Radca
From the first time I saw a potter creating a vessel on his wheel, I knew that this was what I wanted my life's work to be. I began my career as a functional potter, making anything that could be used in the kitchen.
After 7 years of production pottery, I hit the wall creatively and considered getting a "real job." But the challenge drove me. Taking additional coursework, learning new techniques and meeting potters who would become lifelong mentors shifted my creative focus from functional to decorative work.
Over the past 13 years, I have felt challenged to create large forms. My first attempts at 30" plates yielded a production of 75 plates, with only 8 making it through the final firing. Frustration and discouragement were tempered by the challenge -- just as my beginning attempts at life as a potter were challenged by trips to the pawn shop to be able to feed my family. My present day challenge is the production of tall, columnar vessels. The kiln gods and I continue to do battle with this form. I truly believe the challenge is necessary -- it tends to keep one humble.
Twenty years of challenge have produced some constants that describe my life as a potter: zeal, discipline, serendipity and pluck. Finding my niche as a young man produced a clay attitude, a clay passion, a clay zeal that continues today. Discipline of formal study has led to discipline that permeates my life as a potter. From rising early each day to begin work in my studio to a more esoteric discipline that shapes my character. Serendipity has led me down some long and interesting roads -- accidentally overfiring a matte glaze resulted in a high gloss, glass-like glaze and a new direction.
Learning, through accident, that I could manipulate glaze as it is firing led to my "Painting with Fire" glazing technique and a cover article in Ceramics Monthly magazine. A casual conversation with a patron at an art festival led to a series of exhibitions in Bangkok, Thailand, the 7th of which occured in November of 1999. Pluck has seen me continue in the face of difficulties and failures.
Working as a potter has taken me on a journey that makes me anxious to begin each day. I love my life and my work, and recognize that I am a very fortunate man.