March 1951 – February 2021
Glass artist Roger V. Thomas passed away February 20, 2021 in Portland, Oregon, USA.
He was preceded in death by his wife, JoAnn M. Thomas in 2006 and his beloved German Shepherd Ingrid in December of 2020. Roger is survived by his sister Roseann Kirchmann of California, his goddaughters Miranda Schwabauer and Brynne Schwabauer and a lifetime of colorful, close friends, artists, artistic soul mates, art students, and so many more.
Many of us claim a piece of Roger as our own; a friend, colleague, MR. SCIENCE, a teacher, a master of meaningful units of language sounds, and you can fill in your own descriptor of what Roger meant to you, here __________.
Thankfully, Roger has left behind his own writings, his own description of how his life and life’s work intertwined to inspire him and us. You will find his resume, artist statement and of course his vitreous mosaics here on his website.
“It’s an accident that I’m an artist. As a self-professed “maker of things,” I join a large portion of the human race in believing that it is good to build. With age, after enough history and experience sinks in, the temporal nature of building becomes apparent and I am left with the realization that it is the effort, not the object, that gives merit to the doing. Art is the detritus of the creative act, and creating is a worthwhile goal for my life.” – Roger V Thomas
Throughout his creative career, Roger also taught at various institutions nationally and internationally, including The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY, Urban Glass, Brooklyn NY, Pacific Art Glass, Gardena CA, Creative Glass MHS AG, Zurich, Glass Forum, Averøy, Norway and closer to home, including Eugene Glass School, Eugene Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest College of the Arts in Portland, Oregon. Roger wished to know his medium as well as the Asian calligraphy master, who, after a lifetime of study, bends the ink to his desires and expresses the work in a single brush stroke. Or single kiln-firing.
“Each piece is a dialogue between myself and the medium. The conversation is about how simply something can be said; how many marks, what colors, what texture communicates the subject most simply. How do you capture, translate and communicate essence? “ – Roger V Thomas
Roger did not want a memorial service and did not like his middle name, two facts you may or may not have known. A few celebratory occasions have reached our ears and we salute the friends and loved ones who lit the pyre and set Barbie on her journey to the afterworld, the friends and loved ones who celebrated Roger’s 70th birthday on March 13th in Portland, and a Zoom celebration another group put together where stories and laughter were shared. We assume that libations and comestibles were in abundance.
Taped to a door jamb in Roger’s studio was the poem Goodbye, by Anna Breslin c.2018.
“… Life moves forward,
so do I, in time, eventually.
There’s a tug on my heart,
I feel little pieces of lead,
pangs, and then it ends,
pain is transitory,
it feels eternal
or at least as long as me.
a dance of all things people.
Love stays etched
in beating chambers.
I wonder if anyone
will hear my so long
when it’s time,
and will life or the alive
miss me, will I be an
etching in an essential muscle?”
Yes, you will Roger.
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