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Tómás Black / ceramic artist

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ceramacist Tomas Black works in his Leverett studio, New Green Gates Pottery, on Friday, September 28, 2012.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

Tómás Black is a man with a plan.

At 26, he’s “the owner, the designer, the artist guy” of the 2-year-old New Green Gates Pottery in Leverett, where he makes production-line pottery of his own designs, offers classes to students as young as 3 and creates imaginative one-of-a-kind ceramic sculptures.

He’s two years into a long-range business plan that he’s been working on since receiving a bachelor’s degree in ceramics from Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y., a school Black calls “the Harvard of pottery.”

After graduating in 2009, Black came home to Leverett, moved back into his childhood home and renovated an outbuilding to create his studio. Then he got to work on the plan he’s been thinking about since he started throwing pottery at the age of 11.

“I have a three-year plan, I have a five-year plan, a 10-year plan,” Black said in an interview last week at the studio.

An important part of that plan is to expand what he calls his “fine art” work in ceramics, something he had to put on hold until his pottery business took off. Now that his cups, bowls, vases and other wares are for sale in galleries from western Massachusetts to Boston and Providence, R.I., and he has orders from businesses like The Mission Cantina in South Amherst and Dean’s Beans in Orange, Black has started to exhibit his ceramic sculpture. His first show was earlier this month at the Burnett Gallery in Amherst. Several others are in the works.

The sculptures are miniature depictions of scenes that address themes important to Black. Some, like “Four Views of Amherst,” a large bowl that shows the town from compass-point perspectives, are personal. Others, such as “Wind Power: The Next Generation,” which is dotted with white windmills that reach for the sky, address broader issues, like energy production, outsourcing and the nation’s economic stability.

He has devised a system he calls banding that allows him to create what looks like a three-dimensional receding landscape on the exterior of large vases and bowls.

“As far as I know I’m the only one who does them,” he said.

One example, “Ode to New England Factories,” is about the buildup and demise of industry in New England. The sculpture features arched columns that reference Greco-Roman architecture. “We’re in the same sort of situation. They built up a giant infrastructure and then outsourced their products. Slowly but surely it went away,” Black said.

“The purpose of the sculptures is to get people to think about what’s happening. I don’t want to be on either side of the line. I want to just say, ‘This is what I’m noticing.’ The viewers can make their own decision.”

As Black begins to step back into the fine art world, he says, he’s on track with an important part of his plan: “Making these little worlds, you end up with this unique and interesting way that ceramics is now speaking. ... I want to continue spreading the amazingness of ceramics.”

— Kathleen Mellen

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