The language of the clay

I like what’s in motion, what’s lively, what gives a sense of freedom and, in my work as a ceramist, what escapes from any intention, or at least seems to do so. In that sense I feel close to a fairly traditional form of Japanese ceramic attentive to the language of the clay, to the beauty of the accidents, and where the work of the artist is no longer visible.

Nature inspires me. I’m fascinated by the complex patterns that one can find on a dried ground, a cliff, the barks of trees, or the crust of bread. These patterns are not random. They form a kind of language created by the interaction of the elements, such as air, water, or fire.

My work with the clay is an exploration of this language. However, as a ‘metteur en scène’ who highlights what he believes is meaningful, I don’t leave the whole story to chance.

Tom Charbit Ceramics Online Shop - Ardèche
Photo © Félix Ledru
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a painter. Born in 1977, I grew up in the very heart of Paris, two hundred yards from Beaubourg. The Centre Georges Pompidou was my playground. Later, when I had to think, make decisions, or just free my mind, I would sit in the museum for hours at a time, surrounded by Sam Francis, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, or Pierre Soulages paintings. At that time, my intention was to begin an artistic career. Life took me to a different direction.
After graduating from the University of Paris La Sorbonne and from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, I went on to teach political science and sociology, and published a well-received book and several scientific articles on the French Algerian war. In 2006, I was awarded the Historic prize of Nîmes’s Academy for my research. I liked that job a lot, not necessarily the life that went with it.
I turned to ceramics when I left Paris for Burgundy. I went there to live an introspective period of writing. Instead, I discovered a potter’s village famous for its living woodfire tradition, Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye. There, I found a lifestyle closer to nature and people. I shared my early years of work with Rozenn Bigot and met some of the potters that had a deep impact on my aesthetical choices, as David Louveau de la Guigneraye.
In 2009 I settled down in Balazuc, a quaint medieval village in south of France considered as one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’. At this time my work began to travel more and more in museums and galleries in France and all over the world (USA, Japan, Korea, China, Belgium, The Netherlands…). I’m very proud to be a permanent artist at Galerie Atelier 28 in Lyon, France, and at Cavin-Morris Gallery, New-York City, USA, alongside huge artists as Ryoji Koie, Shozo Michikawa, Robert Fornell, Jeff Shapiro, Akira Satake or Tim Rowan, just to mention a few of them.
I have been lucky, as a ceramic artist, to find by accident what later became my signature. I had to unlearn almost everything I knew to improve my technique, and I still learn to unlearn. Make things look natural, as in every art, requires a lot of work. Between control and letting go, a balance has to be found between shapes, scales, volume, textures, and woodfire or glaze effects.
Inspired by traditional Japanese ceramics, as Iga, Bizen, Shigaraki or Mino, my work recalls this culture, as for my bowls inspired by chawans, or my ‘Hokusai mizusashi’ boxes. However, even if I feel extremely close to the philosophy that lies underneath this aesthetics, as zen or wabi-sabi, my work is definitely not an attempt to reproduce the outstanding masterpieces of this history. I rather see my work as a free interpretation of these codes, both inside and outside the canons, close enough to feel this heritage everyday, far enough to let my own sensibility operate aesthetic choices.
Tom Charbit Ceramics Online Shop - Studio
Tom Charbit Ceramics Online Shop - Studio
Tom Charbit Ceramics Online Shop - Studio
Tom Charbit Ceramics Online Shop - Studio
Tom Charbit Ceramics Online Shop - Studio
Tom Charbit Ceramics Online Shop - Studio

Let's keep in touch

Wild and elegant

Randall MorrisCavin-Morris Gallery, NYC, USA

Fascinating and beautiful. I think I am converted

Jan Lewin-CadoganPontyberem, UK

Positively volcanic!

Natalie WilsonSydney, Australia

Incredibly prehistoric-looking. That's one of my biggest compliments

Robert F. TrentWilmington, USA

Une force brute avec le matériau craquelé et une certaine élégance avec le choix des couleurs. La combinaison des deux est époustouflante

Gaëlle CholletBlois, France

Tout simplement superbe. Je suis émerveillée, émue aussi... De la poésie au bout des doigts !

Carol Delage, France

Beautiful in every respect shape, glaze and concept

Dawn BurnhamToronto, Canada

Your works are powerfull and natural

Mako NishimoriNYC, USA

Breathtaking... You're a perfectionist

Catherine GeenenEtalle, Belgique

Sublime!! What else?

Eric LecharmeFrance

This makes me want to throw copious amounts of money at you so I can own one

Nicole PinkGun Barrel City, USA

Remarkable work!

Mark SmalleyCongleton, UK

Vos chawans sont sublimes. La matière brute et en même temps subtilement maitrisée fait de chaque pièce une oeuvre d'art

Yann LemonnierParis, France

The color and design has an Asian sensibility in the surreal abstract landscape

Bobbi Roseman SiegelbaumNYC, USA

Textures are so beautifully and naturally carved, as if something passing by or the wind left them on or as if they were shaped in many years of water work

Filiz SahinIstambul, Turkey

Premier sentiment dès la première vue : éruption volcanique ! Magnifique !

Lucile ClaraPrivas, France

這外表的"皴"我很喜歡

潘雪華Taipei, Taiwan

Your art is intensely beautiful Tom - congratulations!!

Michael KirschBalazuc, France

This kind of work makes my heart beat faster

Michelle KatzPheonix, USA

I have never seen a piece that stopped me in my tracks like this just did! I can't even aspire to dream this much awesomeness in texture

Matt MabisGarrett, Indiana, USA

Surrounded by beauty---even his cat---Charbit creates even more beauty---such an inspiring site to follow!

Bonnie MasseySaint-John, New Brunswick, Canada

安寧,這作品風格跟你的好像ㄟ。

王玉鳳Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Preljepo!

Davor Roso

Looks Like you put a stick of dynamite in this one. The spontaneous shapes look as if human hands have not touched or created but rather the shape grew from its self. Love it

Loren HowardChattanooga, Tennessee, USA

Buon lavoro, il sogno di ogni ceramiste... Favoloso

Isabelle FrançoisTorino, Italy

Dear Tom, Your work has been a motivation for some years now. Your works colour and surface patternation of flame and carbon have inspired and fueled my own drives and ideas. Its a good thing to return thanks

Sim TaylorWeston Super Mare, UK

It's unique! - even for old Japanese masters!

Gábor Halupka

Wow! I've never seen anything like this!!! Very very awesome!!!

Barb Howard

Beautiful imperfection

Betsie Hilberink

This is sooo beautiful!!! Great work! And the firing method enhances its form!

Nina Petrik

Beautiful work, love the forms, colors and textures

Cynthia HandAmherst, USA

Stunning!

Moira KaminskiLondon, UK

Bellissimi !!!

Stefania Domini

I am seriously in awe... beautiful!!

Marie Elizabeth BrocklebankWooburn, UK

Let's keep in touch