Born and raised in Manhattan Beach,
California, Tom Edwards took his first ceramics class at Mira
Costa High School when he was fifteen years old. “I remember being very excited about the
process of pottery right from the start. It was like magic for
me as I had always been really bad at drawing and painting, and
here was something artistic that I really enjoyed.” The summer
before his senior year, Tom's teacher loaned him a potter's wheel
for the summer and he took it home to make pots in his basement. “By
the end of the summer, I had all these pots made so I decided to
do a local craft fair. I ended up making three hundred dollars,
which was a lot of money for a high school kid in 1973.”
While pursuing a B.A. degree in Art History at UC Santa Barbara,
Tom took two years of studio art classes in ceramics and sculpture.
During his senior year, he realized that he wasn't cut out for the
world of graduate studies in art history, so he decided to make pots
for a living. “A lot of my friends were graduating with engineering
degrees and they were looking for 'real' jobs. The thought of a real
job was daunting, so I concocted this plan to make pots for a living.
It was so naive!” With a thousand dollars saved from a summer
job and a working automobile, Tom started renting studio space in
1978 at Santa Barbara Ceramic Design, a small art pottery factory.
Working at SBCD turned out to be a smart move as the potters and
artists there were an excellent learning environment for someone
trying to make a living in clay. Tom's early work were functional
pots with colorful glazes, the kind of pots you saw everywhere in
the 1970's. And
so in the year 2008, Tom is still making Wally pottery much the
way he has for twenty-five years. The topics for the Wally adventures
are always changing with the times, but the spirit of the quirky
mysterious dog remains his muse.