Aarhus, Denmark, Christmas 2005Thomas Looker

Visiting Scholar in American Studies

Author, The Sound and the Story: NPR and the Art of Radio  (Houghton Mifflin 1995)

Producer, New England Almanac: Portraits in Sound of New England Life and Landscape  (Public radio series. Peabody Award 1983)

Visiting Lecturer in American Studies and teacher of the first-year seminar, "The Imagined Landscape"  (1989-2002)




AC# 2225, Amherst College,
Amherst, MA 01002-5000


Current work (updated July 2008)



Don't Bug Me ...

Concerning "The Imagined Landscape"

 Home page and information

 2000 course description

 1999 course description

 1999 Syllabus

 1998 Syllabus  or 1996 Syllabus

Work-in-progress: a book based on the course

Concerning The Sound and the Story

Home page


Excerpt from the book

Concerning New England Almanac

Home page

Audio excerpt

Notes about the programs


Current Work


Studies of Danish and Japanse pipe-makers.

Since 2004, I've been pursuing a line of study and research in this country, Denmark, Japan, and Italy that explores cross-cultural influences and "imaginative conversations" in the work of several brilliant briar carvers from Japan and Denmark.  Their pipe-making skills and unique creativity result in extraordinarily beautiful and original works that blur common distinctions between art and craft.  I've been presenting some of my preliminary ideas in a series of exhibits at shows in Chicago (2004-2008), Copenhagen (2004), Bologna (2006), Montalto Ligure (2007), and Tokyo (fall 2008).  I am writing a series of essays in preparation for a book on the subject.

For more information, see the exhibits and discussions on my web site,
 The Briar Gallery.

Hiroyuki Tokotomi says that when he sits at his sanding disk, his intention is to "play elegantly with briar."


Creative pipe-makers like the Japanese Tokutomi and the Dane Teddy Knudsen embody in unexpected ways the universal human impulse to transform that which is useful into that which is also beautiful.


(from "Contemplating Briar," 2006)


Last revision: August 1, 2008