Skeffington Thomas is a potter and ceramic artist, and Professor of Art on the faculty of Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. After receiving the Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis and Clark College, he worked as the apprentice for the renowned ceramic artist, Toshiko Takaezu. Upon earning the Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Skeff worked as the artist-in-residence at the Arvada Center for the Arts in Arvada Colorado. In 1997, he accepted the appointment to the faculty at Rowan University and has served as chair of the Department of Art and Associate Dean for the College of Fine and Performing Arts.
A member of The National Council on Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) since 1991, Skeff served the council as Director-at-large from 2002-2004 and as President from 2008-2010. NCECA awarded the honor of Emerging Artist to him in 1996. Skeff Thomas has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowships in 1999 and 2005 and First Prize in the Grand Prix de Ceramique, Casino Faienceries, Sarreguemines, France in 1999. Along with numerous national and international group exhibitions, Skeff has presented his work in 11 solo exhibitions with porcelain and stoneware artwork fired in his wood kiln on his property or in the kilns at the university.
Skeff Thomas has juried numerous competitions including the 2010 Taiwan Ceramic Biennale and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Annual exhibition at the Montclair Art Museum and the Noyes Museum of Art. He has presented workshops and demonstrations of his craft throughout the United States and has had work published in Ceramics Monthly, Keramiki Techni, Clay Times, and American Craft amongst other publications.
"I want my ceramic art to be seen and appreciated within the contemporary context of the vessel as sculptural form. Each morning as my fingers play across the body of my coffee cup, and my lips are welcomed by the roundness of a rim, I am reminded about the subtle quality of form and surface that the ceramic arts provide. This sensibility can be maintained when we create objects for daily use as well as forms of a monumental scale. With these forms, covered by a luscious glaze, not only are your fingers massaged by the surface, but also your hand and eye. The distinction between functional craft and sculptural art is blurred, and the viewer/user is granted an experience of a visceral nature."
"The images of these ceramic forms and pottery displayed in this digital gallery have been fired using either the techniques of electric, gas, or wood firing. The stoneware or porcelain clay body is used to provide the opportunity for the glaze choice and the firing choice to be as rich and full of depth as can happen during the final firing. When working with wood firing and gas firing, I consciously give up some control of the outcome to the vagaries of the firing. Conversely, when I choose to fire in the electric kiln, it is to retain full control of the outcome. This technical process of firing ceramic art allows for personal creativity within the transformative process and yet allows for the serendipitous or unique outcome that makes each piece unique."