Oregon College of Art and Craft
former Chair, Ceramics Department
Thirty-eight years ago Thomas Orr took ceramics as a required art class during his studies in Oceanography. This experience led to a decade of living in the foothills of northern California where he dug clay and used wood to fire pots formed on a potter's wheel he created from the axle of an abandoned automobile. Moving to a small college town he worked as a studio artist while performing the duties of a ceramic technician in the local state college. At the end of the '80's Thomas attended the Claremont Graduate School earning an MFA. The next years were spent traveling the country teaching sabbatical replacement jobs and doing studio work. In 1995 he arrived in Portland to head the ceramics program at the Oregon College of Art and Craft.
Navigating between objects and two-dimensional fired paintings he continues to explore experimental materials and color through buildup of glaze layers and repeated firings. "As a maker, my goal is to simplify, to be a quiet voice in the surrounding noise," he states. Thomas has completed several residencies in Eastern Europe, most recently in Kecskemet, Hungary at the International Ceramic Studio.