James W. Kemp
James W. Kemp, 58, well-known Indiana ceramic artist, died Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, at his home in Greenwood.
A full-time, professional potter for more than 32 years, Jim’s work has been displayed in art museums and exhibitions throughout the United States. He was the recipient of numerous awards, and his work can be found in many public and private collections.
Jim created his art in a studio adjacent to the family’s Greenwood home, giving him plenty of at-home time to be with wife, Joni, and their two adored sons.
Early on, Jim taught both sons to play soccer. He then served as a coach in the Greenwood Youth Soccer League when the boys were in elementary school; and he and Joni cheered from the stands through their high school years. Sam Kemp, 25, now lives in Indianapolis after graduating from Purdue University, and Toby Kemp, 23, is a senior at Indiana University, Bloomington.
As an artist, Jim was admired and respected by his peers and was a regular exhibitor at juried art fairs around the country. In Indiana, he annually participated in the Penrod, Broad Ripple and Talbot Street art fairs in Indianapolis. Penrod presented him with its highest award — “Best of Show” — in 1999. In 2006, the board of the Broad Ripple Art Fair placed pictures of his work on posters and billboards throughout Indianapolis to advertise its event.
He has served as president of both the Talbot Street Art Fair Committee and Indiana Art Craftsmen. In 2005, Jim won the Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship Award presented annually by the Arts Council of Indianapolis.
In 2011, the University of Indianapolis, his alma mater, honored him with a one-man exhibition displaying a 30-year retrospective of his art. And the Indiana State Museum recently selected two of his pieces for its permanent collection.
Over the span of his career, he created ceramic art within a variety of clay media.
Recent works have centered on colorful wall platters, decorative lidded boxes and teapots. In addition, he taught ceramic art at various times at the University of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Art Center and Herron School of Art.
Jim graduated from Greenwood Community High School in 1973 and earned a bachelor of science degree in art from the University of Indianapolis in 1979.
Born Sept. 25, 1955, in New Albany, Jim was the son of the Rev. Grester L. and Florence L. (Hemmer) Kemp, both of whom preceded him in death. He married Joni Metcalf on July 30, 1977; and she survives along with their two sons.
Other survivors include a brother, Philip (Patti) Kemp of Fort Wayne; and a sister, Ann (Bud) Herron of Columbus. Also surviving are nieces, Rebekah (Matt) Elder and Jackie (Derrick) Engelman, both of Fort Wayne, Rachel (Bill Clark) Herron of Franklin and Katelyn Metcalf of Marietta, Ga.; nephews, Wesley (Tory) Herron of Crestwood, Ky., and Cody Metcalf and Spencer Metcalf, both of Marietta, Ga.; sister-in-law, Janet Metcalf of Marietta, Ga.; and father-in-law, Warren Metcalf of Indianapolis.
In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Jane Kemp, who died at birth; mother-in-law, Judy Metcalf; and brother-in-law, Warren “Scooter” Metcalf.
A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday at Wilson-St. Pierre Greenwood Chapel, 481 W. Main St. Calling will be from 10:30 a.m. until service time Saturday at the funeral home. A gathering with refreshments will follow the service.
Memorial donations in Jim’s honor may be made to the Local Clay Potters’ Guild in care of Chris Bush, Treasurer, P.O. Box 1853, Bloomington, IN, 47402.