Malcom Davis 1937-2011 by Dave Finkelnburg

Like very many folks, I suspect, Malcolm Davis bounced into and through my life in clay at rather high speed and with seemingly boundless good humor. If you were around, that meant you got to share in the fun too! He was also genuinely humble, and one of the kindest people I have ever known besides.

I met him at my first or second NCECA. He was nationally famous by then and had dropped in on a carbon trapping breakout session where someone insisted on holding forth at great length on the only right ways to do anything and everything involved with trapping carbon in a glaze. Malcolm corrected the blowhard a few times, but each time with such ease and pleasantness that I think the guy never even figured out who Malcolm was!

Later I had the good fortune to spend a few days in one of Malcolm's workshops. The conditions were abominable. Malcolm was privately furious. He was also the quintessential professional. I doubt that anyone else in the workshop was aware of what he had to put up with. With his unflappable good cheer he brought off each session without so much as a hiccup, and kept all of us laughing along the way.

We collaborated on a magazine article, spoke at NCECA, and corresponded via e-mail. Along the way I learned that Malcolm had his serious side, too. There were glimpses of it when he gave the closing lecture at NCECA in Philadelphia. In between the smiles and jokes and laughs it was clear that art was serious to him and that the welfare and humanity of people was serious to him, too.

As skilled, talented and hard-working an artist as Malcolm was, I think he would be one to agree with the note I received regarding him this morning.  "It occurs to me that if you are remembered for being a positive and loving person," it said, "it seems a life well lived."

Here's to you, Malcolm. You lived your life very well indeed.

1 comment:

Sarah Monster said...

I just read that lecture on NCECA's site, completely wonderful to read. must have been wonderful to hear in person