Prof Proof From Back In The Day…

The internet is a very strange and amazing phenomenon. I was on Facebook the other night and checked a friend’s page. My friend happened to be my drawing teacher back in 1978 at Murray State University. I noticed a post from the “Old Murray Art Students” group and thought, I’m an old Murray art student. Anyway I went to look and art department alumni have been uploading pictures from back in the day. I was there from 1977-1982 and there was a surprising dearth of pictures from that period but I did recognize people that were juniors and seniors at the time I was a freshman. Then I came across these two pictures that I just love. What are the chances that I could find a picture that had not 1 but 2 people in it that left such an indelible mark on my life representing 8 of 9 years of college life. The best part is that neither of them look out of their 20’s. Now I’m not sure of the chronology or details so I apologize to both of them if I get it wrong but Fred Shepard, my first ceramics instructor, taught ceramics at MSU for a very long time and he was a great teacher and a very funny guy and apparently he had either hired Tom Walsh, my eventual graduate sculpture instructor, or was instrumental in his becoming a teacher at MSU. I had always known that they knew each other but they both always talked like it was centuries ago. So here’s the two pics I found…

There are so many things about these photos that crack me up, not the least of which is how young both of them are. But also there’s the posed nature of them all gathered around these crazy pots from way back when (my guess is early 60’s but could’ve been earlier) and of course the three bohemians are on the left side of the first shot. The telltale signs of this bohemian beatnik look are the mustaches, lack of crew cuts and of course the PIPES! I can’t tell if the woman on the right wants to kill them or give them haircuts. Anyway, Fred eventually sent me to Montana to do ceramics with Rudy and after 1 year I transferred to SIU-C and studied sculpture with Tom for 3 years. Both of these men were forces of nature in their own way, are retired and continue to make pots and sculpture. In other news, I met up with Jeff Campana shortly last evening and he told me that he will be spending the summer at the Archie Bray Foundation. Congratulations Jeff! Last but not least, here’s the birthday card Sofia picked out for me…

Mom got me a coat and when she told Sofia about it she thought she said a goat. So the bug thought for a bit that I was getting a goat for my birthday and was concerned about where we’d keep it and how Dingus would get along with it. What if Sunglasses chews on it’s horns? Going to unload the kiln.


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12 Responses to “Prof Proof From Back In The Day…”

  1. Michael Says:

    I didn’t know you went to Murray!? Funny I grew up in Clarksville TN, a little ways down from Murray and I remember going to Murray State on a field trip in 1974 or so to see an art show!

  2. ron Says:

    Great old pics. Thanks for the clarification on how you can tell they are beatniks. Hope the kiln is a good one. I’m sure we’ll see some pics soon. No goat for you!

  3. Matt Says:

    Until this moment, I was completely unaware that Tom Walsh had ever been a young man. Thank you very much for posting this.

  4. red dirt girl Says:

    always a day late, but the sentiment holds HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM !!!!!!! you don’t look a day over 45!


  5. kellyTpottery Says:

    Happy Birthday Jim! As I drink out of my Jim yunomi, I’ll send you birthday wishes! Love those old photos. Just awesome.

  6. Salamandra Says:

    The lady on the right wants to date them.

  7. Maria Maupin Anderson Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I came across this looking for Fred b/c he was my ceramic professor at Murray as well. That was in the ’90’s. We left MSU the same year.

  8. Charlotte Rollman Says:

    I was looking up Fred Shepard from your Old Murray post and I love these pictures of the old guys and girls….The woman on the right is Clara Eagle herself…..the other one is Emily Wolfson, fiber.
    I knew all these teachers. The one missing is Bob Head. I began at Murray in 1965-66 and Tom left when I was a Junior. I know this dates me but I am still painting representationally in spite of Bob Head hating my changing from non-objective 3D paintings.

  9. Dennis Bickel Says:

    I was an art student as well at Murray with Fred and Tom. I followed Tom to SIU and also because Buckminster Fuller was there. I’m currently trying to track down my best friend from Murray – Randal Meader.

  10. sara dame ssetzer Says:

    Sara Dame Setzer from 1961-65. Was trying to find something on Fred as I have one of his humongous, wonderful pots. And found this. Loved the pics. Esp seeing Miss Eagle and art historian. Had ceramics under Tuska probably in summer of 62 and that was it for ceramics. retired from teaching art at small college, Limestone, in SC. Anybody have info on Gene Roberds? Maybe I should look for “Old Murray Art students” somewhere.

  11. sara dame setzer Says:

    right spelling here!

  12. Gary Kallback Says:

    That older woman in the photo you obviously know was the late Clara Eagle, my taking ceramics and bronze casting from Tom while living in a basement with Mike Ford and Bob Carey back in 1964, now retired. I always remember Tom holding his hand out as if ready to catch marbles, saying “You’ve got to see.” I have one of his early works, understanding he is now is retired to southern California.

    I went on to teach art in elementary school and then the business world, producing industrial roll-out videos in LA for a Fortune 100 International corporation in New Jersey, where I lived. Best regards.

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