Monday, May 13, 2013

No Line Between Work and Play

A still of ceramic artist Thom Chambers from Fred Stodder's YouTube sensation "Ceramic Displacement"
Ceramic artist Fred Stodder, by all accounts, is a great guy. I am inclined to agree. After I posted Ceramic Displacementthe video he shot with a Super 8 and painstakingly edited, Fred emailed me with details about the video that reflect his life as a Laguna artist circa 1979. It makes me muse over how a Thom-Fred duo may have continued to impact and inspire other local artists  had Thom Chambers's life not been so tragically brief. 

Here's what Fred wrote: 
"Thom and I met in fourth grade and became friends in fifth or sixth grade. Thom got  into ceramics in seventh grade and had a great talent for it. By the time he was 16 years old he was one of the best potters in the area. Also at  about 16 years old he was teaching an adult ed ceramics class at UC Irvine. That is about the time I started making pottery.

"Thom graduated from Laguna High in 1976. Shortly after we began working together and shared a booth at the 1976 Sawdust Festival. Thom was very influential to me. He was funny, extremely talented and filled with enthusiasm. We always had fun and there was no line between work and play. He was one of my best friends ever.

"In the winter of 1977 we rented a studio in north Laguna from Margaret (Mocky) Kuntz, which had formerly belonged to the great painter Roger Kuntz. That is were the van pulls in at the end of the movie; it begins in the alley behind the studio. I worked there for 11 years. Thom and I shared it for six or seven years.

"We collaborated on four films and several art projects. Ceramic Displacement is probably my favorite film that I did with Thom. We thought it up together. The concept is simply what it is. Thom is throwing on a kick wheel. I did all the filming and editing. The Pottery Shack shot was funny to me because they used to have potters throwing pots as an attraction, and as we are driving by there is a potter throwing with a crowd around him, and I think they were kind of shocked to see Thom throwing in the van. I wish that it lasted a little longer so you could easily see that.

"I started messing with Super 8 films when I was 13 and made several little films. A few are worth watching. They include clay animations, painting animations, surfing and a couple of dramas. I plan to post more of my old Super 8 films in the future but it will take a while because I want to have all original music for them and they weren't made that way."

We'll look forward to more hand-crafted Super 8 films with original music as Fred posts them to YouTube. Thank you, Fred!