Earth air, fire water. These are the ingredients of pots and human beings alike, and each formula contains also the elements of chance. Do not seek perfection in pots or people, for your search will go un-rewarded and you will miss knowing many good pots and many good people…
The above quote, found in a sketchbook from a workshop, summarizes Thomas Bivins’ attitudes towards life and his work. Tom is currently an adjunct instructor of ceramics and design courses at Yavapai Community College, and works out of a home based studio in Clarkdale, Arizona.
Tom has studied at and received degrees from Chaffey College, Orange Coast College, California State University Long Beach and Northern Arizona University. He is one of the new generation potters combining commercial training with a formal education in Fine Art. The result is an expansive body of work with personality destined to be treasured.
Thomas (or “Biv” as his friends know him) has been involved with clay in one way another since the seventh grade. Although he often pursued other passions in life, the pottery and clay world captivated him. Along the journey, Biv credits school and his professional experience as a factory potter and designer for polishing his attitude toward ceramics.
The list of influences is endless; however there are a few that cannot go without mention: John Rothrock from Edison High School in Huntington Beach, Ca. Don Jennings at Orange Coast College, Larry Thomson and the crew from “The Studio Pottery” in Whittier, Ca. and Crispin Gonzales from Chaffey College.
Thomas adheres to the belief that it’s not where you’ve been but where you’re at that matters. Working with Mr. Tom Schumacher, getting to know the students at Yavapai College, and a wonderful relationship with his wife and daughter have put him in a special place. Asked to describe himself and his work, Tom said,”I’d rather let the work speak for itself.”
I no longer teach at Yavapai College and can only say it was a great time in my life. The students and staff made my life better and even to this day I am grateful for the great time there! In the mean time yours truly is still making pottery and sharing at workshops around the Rocky Mountains and Southern California regions.