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. 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 business. Working at SBCD was an excellent learning environment as the potters and artists there provided a good education in how to make pottery for a living. Tom’s early work were functional pots covered with striking high fire copper red, iron brown and rutile blue glazes.