Friday, March 26, 2010

One Hundred Circles

At the beginning of  my first year at NBCCD, I was given an assignment in my 3D design class that will forever be burned into my brain. One hundred circles, one object, 100 different patterns, one week to complete. Essentially we were supposed to draw 100 circles of a uniform size on a posterboard, fill each circle with a pattern using only the assigned random object, there were a certain number to be done in colour, and so on, but essentially it was as stated. My object was a copper pipe connector. It was a brutal assignment, and I was positive that it was designed to weed out the wimps, or that the instructor was a sadistic bastard, possibly both. But with the help of  a full pot of coffee, some good tunes on the ghetto blaster and my sheer stubborness, I got it done, complete and on time. 
That Instructor was Peter Thomas, who was also my first pottery instructor and as it turned out, Peter was not a sadistic bastard, in fact far from it. He is a wonderful artist, patient teacher, and all round fine fellow.  I've been thinking a lot about the circle assignment while working out the patterns on my shellac resist teabowls, and by extension, about how influential Peter Thomas was on my life as an artist. Nearly 18 years later, I am using the circle game to help match, and eliminate patterns, to look at objects differently and to find beauty in the mundane.
I learned more from that circle project and from Peter than from anything else my entire time in art school.  I hope that he knows how much I appreciate his patience, and guidance, and the fact that he never once said that being a potter was a poor choice for a person with one hand.

Thank You Peter, I toast you, with a fine New Brunswick Beer, In a tea bowl made by you.