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Art explodes at Tobin Studios

by ellen shaughnessy * may 17, 2015

A funny thing happened to me today, as I turned off 309 and drove through Quakertown suburbia, then entered a boring office park – turned a corner and BOOM. . . this!  I knew I was in the right place, for Tobin Studios & friends’ first-ever glass/pottery/ceramics sale.

office park SURPRISE!

office park SURPRISE!

On May 16+17, 2015 – for the first time ever in 30 years, the public could visit Tobin Studio/’sculpture park’ and find some gorgeous pieces for sale by world-class sculptor and ceramicist Steve plus a couple of his artist friends. Some pieces are quite affordable and fairly priced, however the VW-bug sized explosives are not for the feint-of-wallet.

“I studied theoretical math and physics – I’m really a scientist more than a ‘true artist’ – these explosives are my experiments.”

When he gets talking about his explosives, Tobin’s face really lights up. Animatedly, he explained the process of loading a big ball of clay with explosive compounds and gunpowder – the excitement is infectious as he describes the feeling of unwrapping the consequences of his latest dyno-creation. When I see the size of some of these compound explosives, I wonder what the neighbors must think.
Photos do not do these pieces justice but here is one attempt: This cool green-glass and clay explosive is probably about 5′ in diameter and must weigh a ton or at least as much as a VW bug… it looks like it just shot in from outer space.

pottery/glass/ceramics sale at Tobin Studio in Quakertown

pottery/glass/ceramics sale at Tobin Studio in Quakertown

When he heard we were from Easton, Tobin asked whether we knew his mentor, Karl Stirner (we do) – he was then excited to show us a quick 10-minute tour of his studio space which is more like a secret sculpture museum – a pretty spectacular one.

a show of hands.... leads to the sculpture shop

a show of hands…. leads to the sculpture shop

The ceramic explosive that you see to the top-left of this table at his sale was contained in a simple metal kitchen colander. It features toad-like little clay ‘spike’ on its exterior surface, and a rich sea of greens and blue / aqua glass lies at the bottom where it melted, fused and settled into it final resting pool. The interior surface of the clay resembles Death Valley in its texture. Tobin explains that his explosives resemble the view of earth from the atmosphere. They do! They are like little meteors.

His bio of installations and exhibits reads like a world-tour; Tobin is a world-acclaimed artist and what a neat surprise to find this progressive art right here in Quakertown.

Tobin  has a new ‘experiment’ up his sleeve… this one is not of the detonative sort, but I have a feeling that its impact will be just as explosive… it will be unveiled at an undisclosed location on Broadway in NYC, before year’s end. It will be revealed on an international level – we hope to do a follow-up blog on it.

Ceramicist Greg White, photo by

Ceramicist Greg White, photo by

oh how I wish I was rolling along the KSAT

oh how I wish I was rolling along the KSAT

Meanwhile, p.s. – Tobin is now a creative advisor for Bethlehem’s Banana Factory and is working with the hot glass studio. A beautiful textured Viennese-style glassware set is for sale this weekend, along with a gorgeous patterned piece by glass artist Simon Pierce. Greg White is also on deck, with some amazing porcelain colored ceramic unique goblets at a quite affordable price-point.

a blown glass piece with magnificent detail, by Simon Pierce - for sale

a blown glass piece with magnificent detail, by Simon Pierce – for sale

Tobin also does gigantic metal sculptures and I can only hope that someday one of the gigantic ‘bones’ conglomerations, Asian- calligraphy influenced 3-story characters, or huge alpha-balls will somehow land along the Karl Stirner Arts Trail… Stay tuned!

'Grabbers' by Steve Tobin. photo by Jamie Cabreza

‘Grabbers’ by Steve Tobin. photo by Jamie Cabreza

See more about Steve Tobin.

Steve Tobin & his Grabbers

Steve Tobin & his Grabbers

This blog is sponsored by Free Bridge Realty, llc

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