Tom's work in both wood and ceramics is highly influenced by his first love,wood.
He makes wooden vessels of various sizes in green Scottish hardwoods, using green
timber which allows the drying work to twist, contort and split in ways not always
foreseen letting the timber dictate the form. Tom has studied ancient wooden drinking
cups like mazers and quaichs, and bowls recovered from sunken ships and peat bogs
that often show signs of splitting and distorting. These artefacts are often repaired
using metal rivets and fastenings making something that might be seen as imperfect
a thing of beauty and worth.
His current wooden pieces often have inclusions of hallmarked Scottish silver, his
own take on an antique tradition.
Tom also makes large hand built bowls and calabashes in stoneware that he hand decorates
with designs abstracted from the patterns he sees in the grain of wood.
About the Artist
“My fascination with the form and texture of wood is evident in my work; replicating
wood is not my goal it is the starting point that takes me from the wood turning
lathe to the plaster cast, to hand building and back to the lathe in an association
of ideas that informs and educates as it evolves.
The memory of the living timber is evident in all my ceramic pieces, from the small
rice bowls, to the calabashes, to the large sculptural pieces, all are abstracted
from this same source. The biggest forms require thicker more textural glaze reminiscent
of ancient trees, whereas the smaller pieces require lighter handling to accentuate
the fine grain. The work I produce has many applications, from the large organic
forms that would sit well in a conservatory, hotel foyer or garden to the small rice
bowls that would fit into any domestic setting.”
In November 2011 Tom travelled to America for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft
He showcased some porcelain bowls and a large collection of his wooden vessels (most
of which sold, but can still be seen in the "Wooden Forms" section).
Tom was delighted and honoured to win the Best International Maker rosette and looks
forward to hopefully visiting some American shows again in the near future.
Tom collecting his award
In 2011 Tom took part in Libertys’ Open day which invited people to present their
wares to the chief buyers . They were very impressed with his work and after a visit
to his studio, placed a substantial order, which led to repeat orders - quite an
achievement given that it was just under a year since his change of career.
A short video of Tom in action
Tom's porcelain pieces are made using wooden formers, the resulting pieces showing
clearly where they come from but become something different in the firing process,
the fragility of the timber being "fossilised" in the kiln.
Preparing the order
The new collection of large scale wooden forms created from native Scottish timber
by Thomas Hopkins Gibson is destined for SOFA Chicago where Tom will be attending
this November as part of the contingent headed by Craft Scotland.
Using green timber exclusively from Dumfries House Estate Auchinleck* with hallmarked
Scottish silver inclusions he hopes to add to the success he has already achieved
in the American market.
*Dumfries House Estate Auchinleck - Designed in the 1750s by the Adam Brothers,
and saved for the nation in 2007 by HRH Prince Charles, Dumfries House has an unrivalled
collection of furniture by Thomas Chippendale, Alexander Peter, Francis Brodie, and