Tom received his undergraduate degree in Art from Illinois State University in 1968. He taught crafts while in the Army and then was asked to establish a ceramic art program for the College of Architecture at Clemson University. He did so in 1971 and taught there until 1976 when he resigned to work full time in his studio. He received his M.F.A at Clemson in 1973, moved to Florida in 1979, moved in 1982 to Medina, Ohio, moved to Delaware, Ohio in 1986 and moved to Mars Hill, North Carolina in 2005.
He has taught at the leading craft schools in the country such as Penland, Arrowmont, The Archie Bray Foundation and has conducted workshops in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, New Jersey and Michigan (over 125 in all). He has been visiting artist at Illinois State University and The Ohio State University.
Major shows include Young Americans 1969, which toured the U.S.; the Marietta Crafts National 1974,1977,1981; The 33rd Scripps College Invitational; Functional Ceramics at Wooster, Ohio 1978,1981,1983; 35 Artists of The Southeast, which toured for two years; New Directions: Fiber and Clay, touring for three years; 20 American Potters, which toured the world and became collections of American Embassies; The Emergence of a New Tradition: American Porcelain, at The Hand and Spirit Gallery; and American Porcelain: New Expressions in an Ancient Art, shown at the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, and then toured the United States and the world. The Covered Jar in the exhibition is part of the National Collection of Fine Arts. He has also exhibited in over 150 invitationals and over 50 juried shows.
His work has appeared in Craft Horizons, American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, Studio Potter, The Washingtonian, House Beautiful, Southern Living, Ceramica – Madrid, Spain, Ceramic Review – London, England and the following books.
- The Vase and Beyond-- Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, Ca. - 2010
Design Through Discovery – Bevlin -Third Edition - 1977, Fourth Edition 1984
- Salt Glazed Ceramics – Troy - 1977
- Ceramics, A Potter’s Handbook – Nelson - Fourth Edition - 1978, Fifth Edition - 1984
- History of American Studio Ceramics – Donhauser - 1978
- Contemporary Ceramic Techniques – Conrad - 1979
- Tea Pots – Berman - 1980
- American Porcelain: New Expressions in an Ancient Art – Smithsonian Inst.- 1980
- Porcelain – Axel and McCready - 1981
- Studio Ceramics - Lane - 1983
- American Craft for the Home – Pearson - 1983
- The Ceramic Spectrum – Hopper - 1984
- 1985 International Ceramics Exhibition – Taipei, Taiwan - 1985
- Functional Pottery – Hopper - 1984
- The New Ceramics – Dormer - 1986
- Ceramic Form – Lane - 1988
- Clays and Glazes, The Ceramic Review Book – England - 1988
- American Ceramics: The Collection of the Everson Museum of Art - 1989
- Ash Glazes – Phil Rogers – Wales - 1991
- Contemporary Porcelain – Lane - England - 1995
- Ten Thousand Years Of Pottery – Emmanuel Cooper - England -2000
- Ceramic Surfaces – Ostermann-Canada - 2002
- Ash Glazes – Second Edition - Rogers - Wales - 2002
- Contemporary Studio Porcelain – Lane - England - 2003
- Making Marks: Discovering the Ceramic Surface – Hopper - Canada - 2004
- The Complete Guide to High-Fire Glazes: Glazing and Firing to Cone 10 - John Britt - United States - 2004
- The Teapot Book-Steve Woodhead -England - 2005
Tom has received Individual Artist Grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Ohio Arts Council, and a Craftsmen’s Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. His work is included in numerous private and public collections including United States Embassies in the Near East, Far East, Latin American and Africa; Arizona State University; Illinois State University; Clemson University; Utah Museum of Fine Art; Utah State University; Marietta College; S.C. Arts Commission; The Mint Museum of Art; The Columbia Museum of Art; The Greenville County Museum of Art; Spring Mills Art Collection; East Carolina University; Foothills Community College in San Francisco; National Collection of Fine Arts; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; Longwood College, Virginia; the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, N.Y.; The Zanesville Art Center, Ohio; The Canton Art Institute, Ohio; The University of Oregon; McLean County Art Center, Illinois; Ceramics Monthly Collection, Ohio and Baylor University, Texas along with American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona. Ca.