Tom Smith

Tom Smith, RCA


Tom Smith, RCA, Lidded Vessel with Patinated Stick

12 in. tall x 8 in. wide

Tom Smith, Tall Handled Vessel

terra sigillata with salt and copper splash
15.5 in. tall x 8.5 in. wide


Tom Smith, RCA


Tom Smith, RCA, Fat "Squared" pot

terra sigillata with salt and copper sulphate
8 in. tall x 8 in. diameter

Tom Smith was born and educated in the United States, (BFA, Pennsylvania State, MFA, Alfred University New York). Smith moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1971 to take a position as art instructor at Fredericton High School. He went on to teach at the University of New Brunswick in the Faculty of Education, before deciding to pursue sculptural ceramics full time.

Since then he has become one of Canada's best known ceramic artists, receiving numerous awards for his work during the past thirty years, In 1992, he received the prestigious Strathbutler Award for Excellence. In 1999, Smith was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Although many of his pieces are functional, it is the formal elements or sculptural concerns which predominate in his work. According to Tom he is intrigued by "the existence of the object in space and the idea and nature of containment. The vessel as a three dimensional object allows and invites endless exploration in form and content" The texture of the surfaces is also critical; "I get excited about a tear in clay as opposed to a cut . . . the mark of a broken piece of wood into the clay as opposed to a brush stroke of colour on the surface." Colour is used primarily to enhance the form and involves a sophisticated and often experimental use of glazes.

Since 1982, he has concentrated on Raku, a ceramic process developed in 14th century Japan utilizing a wood fired kiln. Many of his pieces manage to incorporate a certain oriental aestheticism in conjunction with a very North American inspired use of the natural landscape.

In addition to his ceramic work, Smith has continued to produce an ongoing body of two dimensional work, most recently returning to painting with a series of oil pastels. These works complement his ceramic work in mood, tone, inspiration and aesthetic preoccupations.

He has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions and he is represented in both public and private collections around the world.