PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
Alan Burton Thompson was born in North Tonawanda, NY in 1956. As a child, he attended seven elementary schools before 6th grade and lived in more houses than he can count – most within a 50 mile radius. In high school, he led his school bowling team to a state championship, and he was one of 50 students statewide selected to have a ceramic sculpture exhibited at the national headquarters of the Carborundum Corporation.
His first jewelry class was in high school. Due to an enthusiastic but overbearing teacher, he found it to be an unpleasant experience. He would not discover jewelry again until his junior year of college after toying with sculpture, photography, psychology, astronomy, and philosophy. He has worked as a professional magician, antique dealer and teacher. He also spent a few very, very lean years pursuing a career in professional Frisbee. In the years between undergraduate and graduate school, he exhibited and sold his work at numerous craft shows such as the Baltimore Winter Market and the Philadelphia Craft Show.
Today, Alan Burton Thompson is an Associate Professor of Jewelry/Metals in the Artisanry program at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He has shown his work in numerous galleries and exhibitions and has taught many workshops throughout the country. Thompson is the recipient of a Massachusetts Arts Council Individual Fellowship and a National Endowment of the Arts Individual Fellowship. His work appeared on the cover of the Summer 2005 issue of Metalsmith magazine, with an accompanying feature article. He has also been published in American Craft magazine, ARTnews, and Smithsonian Magazine, among other books and publications. He has lectured twice at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery of American Craft and has work in the permanent collection.