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Steven Branfman

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Everything posted by Steven Branfman

  1. Claystories 3 At Nceca

    Hi all,,,,,If you are going to NCECA in Portland, don't miss our presentation of ClayStories 3, 5:30 in the Convention Center Oregon Ballroom 202. Lee Burningham and I have a robust roster of entertaining StoryTellers who will make you laugh, cry, and wonder at the experiences that will be shared. Do you have a story to tell in 5 minutes or less? Raise your hand for the Open Mic segment and get up on stage. Hope to see many of you there! Steven
  2. On the heels of John's posting, ditto on all accounts! I hope to see many of my Potters Council friends in Portland at the PC Reception and throughout the conference. Among other places, you'll find me at the National K-12 Exhibition Opening on Wednesday at 4:30 and of course at my presentation of ClayStories3 on Friday at 5:30 in the Oregon Ballroom. Our Storyteller lineup includes past PC board members Jonathan Kaplan, Gregg Lindsely and Mel Jacobson. It's going to be a blast so don't miss it!
  3. Tom was a quiet, humble, gentle man who avoided the spotlight. When I invited him to be a candidate for the Potters Council Advisory Board he accepted with enthusiasm, honored that he would be considered and looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the organization in that way. It was only when he was absolutely certain that his health would prevent him from following through that he, even then, reluctantly withdrew his nomination. He accepted life but never acquiesced to it. I'm honored to have had Tom as a friend.
  4. Hi Paul,,,Pray tell,,,what did you receive???
  5. Evelyne, your QOTW have been creative, probing, thoughtful, often provocative, and always entertaining. Don't be surprised if you are asked (begged) to continue to be the moderator of this forum! You've got my vote!!!!!
  6. This is a very provocative question and one that demands dynamic conversation. On one hand, it can be said that the owner of an object has the right to do anything they want with it unless it came with an agreement otherwise. On the other hand, out of respect and honor, the object should alway retain it's original form. A personal example, albeit a minor one, is often a client or collector will ask me if it's ok to put flowers in my vessel or to plant in a bowl. My answer, after I explain any technical issues such as durability and the piece being waterproof or not, is; "You may do whatever you like. Flowers are fine. Planting is fine. Make the piece part of your life." If they asked me if it would be ok to use my piece for target practice, I would say "sure, but that's a very expensive target." The bottom line for me and my work is that once the piece is in the possession of someone else, it is complete. I have expressed myself and made my statement. It is now out of my hands.
  7. If safety, health and hygiene are not paramount in your studio then you are doing something terribly wrong. Here is a small sample of our practice at The Potters Shop & School: We vacuum ( with a certified hepa equipped machine) every day. We mop weekly. Respirator filters are cleaned and disinfected after every use and filters changed according to frequency of use. Steven
  8. Love These Pieces Of Art

    Hi Brian,,,the work looks familiar but I can't place it. Why don't you post it in the Aesthetics Forum to widen your search?
  9. User Beware

    Friends In Clay,,,,,,Periodically it's a good idea for us to remind all forum users, whether you are an active participant, an occasional contributor, or a lurker, to always take advice, especially technical advice, with care. I have not doubt that everyone who gives technical advice is doing so with the best intentions, but you must do your own due diligence by doing additional research into your question. Then, test, test, test,,,,, best to all, Steven
  10. John's talk was amazing. If you missed it, shame on you. I was one of the lucky ones sitting at the front. He's absolutely right about it being so hard to predict how many people will be attracted to specific lectures and panels. BTW: Don't miss ClayStories 2016!!!!! http://www.claystories.org/ (Shameless self promotion!) best to all, Steven
  11. On the heels of Preston's remarks, the idea of a kiln god can have so many different meanings for different people. Some evoke personal connections to their art that go well beyond a kiln god watching over a firing. Others are simply fun additions to the journey that a pot takes from the earth to the table. A few of our studio members at The Potters School routinely place a kiln god of their making on the lid of the kiln. I've participated in group wood firings where a kiln god was placed on the kiln accompanying a kiln lighting ritual. When I was the guest artist at the Raku Ho'olaule'a in Hawaii in 2000, a Hawaiian prayer was recited to honor and bless the participants, the earth, the materials and the practice of our craft. The way we honor and practice our craft and the reasons why we are clay artists is always personal and provocative. It is nature of what we do and the lifestyles that we live.
  12. Raku Chawan

    From the album Recent Vessels

    © &copy Steven Branfman

  13. What a great question to pose Evelyne!!!! I don't have my first pots but I do have my first Raku pots. Here they are, from 1974, two small wheel thrown bowls, about 3.5"H
  14. Always a provocative question to ponder. I became interested in art in my senoir year of high school but went to college to study physical education thinking I would be an athletic director, teacher, coach, trainer, etc. By the time I arrived at college I had spent so much time the previous year doing art that I switched my major the day I arrived. The rest is history!
  15. That is one of the most hysterical encounters I've ever heard!!!! I'm glad that you didn't have to call me to bail you out of jail!!! Ceramic objects, especially vessels, demand to be held, touched, caressed. When I have an exhibition I tell everyone to touch. Of course this is much to the chagrin of the gallery owner! Bravo to you Evelyne for allowing your emotions to draw you to touch.
  16. Hi Mudslinger and all,,,,I have to chime in here in response to your 'wish-I-could-do-raku-without-the-fussy-neighbours' comment. While many people see Obvara firing as a method related to Raku. It is not Raku. Similarly, Naked Raku and horse hair Raku are also an offshoots. Marcia is correct in saying that there is no smoke produced during the Obvara post firing step. It is steam. A common misconception about Raku involves the post firing phase. All Raku firing requires that the work be removed from the kiln when it is hot. This is the post firing, is integral to Raku, and is what differentiates Raku from conventional firing. However, not all post firing practice involves smoking or post firing reduction. In fact, traditional Aka (red) Raku firing never did, and does not involve post firing smoking of the ware. So Mudslinger, the bottom line is that you can do Raku without producing smoke.
  17. John,,,,you've been a driving force, steering the Potters Council forward on a positive path. Your mentorship in guiding me through my term as Chair-Elect and Chair has been invaluable to me and I could not have achieved my goals without us being side by side. Thank you for all you've done and all you'll continue to do as a Potters Council committee member.
  18. Hi Mark, Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. As you might know, we are in crunch time preparing for next weeks NCECA Conference. I'll bring this to the attention of the Advisory Board at our meeting there, so please be patient for a reply. best, Steven
  19. Thanks for posting this question Marcia. We on the PC Advisory Board want to hear from you. Steven
  20. I was a sculpture major in art school working with hard materials. I went to my first ceramics class as a total clay novice. Watching my teacher's first throwing demo was magical, mesmerizing, hypnotic. I turned to my friend next to me and said "I'm going to be a potter." I had not yet touched the clay. When the demo was finished he told us to get out some clay. As soon as I felt the clay, the deal was sealed. That was my ah ha moment.
  21. Lovely written article Evelyne. Very descriptive and informative.
  22. Bloating is most often the result of over firing the clay body. Occasionally the problem can stem from firing too quickly or having a high degree of volatile material in the clay body that is not given sufficient time to escape, but not usually. Some clay bodies, especially those with a high iron content are susceptible to over firing if fired even slightly beyond the stated cone (in this case cone 6). I would consult with Seattle Pottery supply and ask how critical the cone 6 limit is. Are you firing using a computerized kiln? Are you also placing cone packs (cone 4-5-6-7) visible through the peep holes and in locations throughout the kiln to assess the firing? Steven
  23. Provocative topic Min. If that was all your teacher had to say then that was truly pathetic. I've participated in many critiques, as a student and a teacher. I can't think of any single comments that stand out. Critiques by their very nature must be critical. The constructive aspect is in the hands of the student. That is, how will the student process the criticism and put it to use in their work.
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