Each one of Tommy's Bird Bowls is truly a flight of fancy. His idea was hatched while visiting his sister's ceramics class where he began turning lumps of wet clay into whimsical ceramic treasures. Each bowl is individually handcrafted with intricate decorations before being filmfired and glazed. The result is a vibrant labor of love reflecting the enthusiastic and joyful presence Tommy exuded throughout life.
Born physically and mentally handicapped, Tommy shared his unique gift with others. To have known Tommy is to know a great inequity, for it is seemingly impossible to ever give as much love as Tommy gave by simply existing. Tommy died in 2016 at the age 50.
He inspired his sister, Cathi Brostrom, who inspired him. We caught up with Cathi to ask about this artistic journey.
What led you to the Johns Creek Art Center?
I started taking classes at Johns Creek Art Center in 2007. A friend of mine encouraged me to visit the Art Center to see the clay studio, I met three students who were working in the clay studio and the manager, Marissa. I felt so welcome and they were so excited about the classes they were taking, what they were learning, and the activities the Art Center was doing, I knew I wanted to be a part of JCAC.
I began taking wheel classes and then started taking hand-building classes. My brother Tommy lived with me and would come to class with me - he was part of what became family. After a couple of years I began teaching handbuilding classes to adults, and kids, and taught summer camp.
JCAC offers so many classes, but starting something new is scary!
Everyone has to start at the beginning, which will be fun, frustrating, and mostly rewarding. You become part of a new community and family. I love to see the excitement in students' eyes when everything comes together and they realize they made that piece of art. My parents always encouraged me to take art classes. I have taken oil painting and watercolor classes, but ceramics became my passion. My first ceramics class was when I was in sixth grade. I took a break and started again in early 2000.