Dr. Arthur Tobias giving a demonstration at Mountain Pottery this past weekend.     Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Dr. Arthur Tobias has been in the art world since 1968 when he took an introductory clay class his freshman year of college. From that point on, he never turned back.

When asked what it was about ceramics that caught his interest Tobias said, “The ability to realize you could create anything you can imagine and you can shape it with your hands.” 

They say patience is a virtue and that is especially true when it comes to artistic expression. Tobias explained the importance of learning patience while working with clay. 

“Throwing clay can be frustrating, so you bring the calmness and apply it to what you’re doing,” explained Tobias. “We are all different from the inside out, and that to me, is where all your craft and artistic skills come from.”

Tobias takes a limitless stance with his ceramics by creating his own tools, clays, and glazes, so his art is not limited by others’ materials or designs. 

It’s a unique trait that has allowed Tobias to have a successful art career. 

“My expression was always limited by someone else’s programming,” said Tobias. “My first kiln I built, my first wheel I built and my first shop I built were all from an old shed and barn that was in my family for a century.”

Tobias has shared his skills with many over the years, teaching students how to discover their own artistic path and encouraging people to keep practicing. 

“I don’t believe in limits,” said Tobias. “You just have to dive into it. You have to stick with it. If you don’t practice often, you’ll never get to something that’s satisfactory.”

Tobias was a traveling artist for the Arkansas Art Center in the 1970s. He traveled all over the state giving workshops at schools, prisons and retirement homes. Tobias would teach silk screening, drawing, painting and ceramics. He also taught students of all ages in the classroom setting.

He received his associate’s in computer technology from Los Angeles City College and went on to get his bachelor’s in art. Tobias then earned a doctorate in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Tobias continues to give demonstrations as the resident master potter at Mountain Pottery, sharing his gifts and skills since he became a full-time resident three years ago.

“I feel very fortunate that I’ve retired to this community,” said Tobias. “I didn’t start out to be a teacher, but I realized I’ve been formed by my years of teaching. I’m very happy that people want to hear what I have to say with 50 years of experience working with clay.” 

Tobias has spent his career teaching others how to create and grow their artistic abilities, while continuing to fine-tune his own. You can catch his pottery demonstrations from 10 to 11 a.m. almost every Saturday at Mountain Pottery, 54716 N. Circle Dr.