Tom Pakele started working in ceramics as a senior in high school in 1973 and went on to receive a B. A. in Art at California State University at Northridge in 1981. During his studies Tom became interested in the finer points of porcelain, working the surfaces with carving and traditional Asian glazes such as copper red, celadon and iron saturates. During these formative years, Tom started selling his work at Los Angeles area galleries including Freehand, which is affiliated with Craft in America.
As an undergraduate and graduate student Tom taught ceramics at various Southern California institutions. During his studies, he was the research assistant to nationally renown Emeritus professor Laura Andreson. Tom graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from UCLA in 1984. He went on to earn his California Community College Teaching Certificate and continued his teaching at Columbia Community College in Columbia, California.
After the completion of his Master’s degree, he started a studio in the mountains of Calaveras County, California with fellow artist and wife, Susan Garson, also a UCLA graduate. Their work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at prominent galleries including The Hand and The Spirit Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona and Pinch Pottery in Northampton, Massachusetts, owned by Leslie Ferrin, editor of several of the Lark 500 Ceramic Book Series. Tom and Susan have three pieces in the book 500 Ceramic Figures, as well as other books and publications. They have also participated in national shows such as the American Crafts Council Baltimore Craft Show, Baltimore, Maryland, The New York Gift Show in New York City, and The Buyers Market of American Craft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They have also created pieces for commissions as well as for charitable organizations.
In 1991 the couple built a studio in Eldorado Springs, Colorado, near Boulder. Since 2006 Tom has taught ceramics at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colorado. He continues to work in porcelain and stoneware as well as collaborating in ceramics with Susan.