International Center for Science Selects Nashville Artist


President Bush Scheduled for Ribbon Cutting

Thirty-six large porcelain vessels, hand-thrown by Nashville artist Tom Turnbull, have been selected for permanent display at the Center for Disease Control national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. When President George W. Bush cuts the ribbon to open the new center, Turnbull’s pottery will be one of the first things the President and other dignitaries see as they enter the lobby. It may be the only art that they see, because Turnbull will be the featured artist at the grand opening.

“This honor is well deserved,” stated Greg Decker, a nationally recognized artist and former educator at the prestigious MoMA and Metropolitan Museum in New York, and owner of Greg Decker Studio in Nashville. “Tom’s consummate craftsmanship creates a subtle and vibrant dance between color and form. I think his work has earned a place on the national stage.”

Turnbull, over the years, has accumulated skills and knowledge that go well beyond basic pottery. He completed a three-year apprenticeship and has studied with artists Charles Counts, Legatha Walston  and with former Bauhaus alumnae Marguerite Wildenhain. He founded, developed, and ultimately sold Nashville’s center for ceramic supplies, Mid-South Ceramic. He invented Opulence Glaze ™, a highly acclaimed line of glazes that is sold around the world.

Every step in making even the simplest bowl is critical to Turnbull. Each piece is hand-thrown from carefully selected porcelain clays. He creates his own glazes to get them “just right.” Turnbull continually hones his drawing skills so that when he “paints” with glazes (whether a line drawing or a bold impressionistic pattern) his designs caress the shape of the vessel. Most recently, he has mastered the balance between strength and dexterity that allows him to create extremely large pieces like those to be displayed at the CDC.

His hard work is resulting in a burgeoning national audience. The widening circle of admirers includes Louise Shaw, who is in charge of design for the CDC’s new visitor’s center. She was a judge at a recent art show in Birmingham where she awarded him a Signature Award.

Shaw commented, “I was delighted to select Tom’s work for the CDC display because of the elegance of his forms, the richness of his glazes, and the clarity of his vision. Tom’s artistry produces a quality and beauty that seems fresh each time you see it.”