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Steven Branfman

Member Since 24 Oct 2012
Offline Last Active Mar 18 2017 09:44 PM

#124016 Claystories 3 At Nceca

Posted by Steven Branfman on 18 March 2017 - 09:43 PM

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!


#107509 Qotw: Do You Have A Story For Us, Featuring Tom Roberts (Aka Tjr) ?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 25 May 2016 - 08:24 AM

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.

#103303 Qotw: Which Topic Did You Like The Most?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 09 March 2016 - 09:13 AM

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!!!!!

#102784 Qotw: Can You Do Whatever You Want To A Bought Piece Of Art?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 28 February 2016 - 05:17 PM

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.

#101725 Qotw: Is The Cleaning Fairy Still Available On Etsy?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 09 February 2016 - 03:06 PM

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. 



#98376 User Beware

Posted by Steven Branfman on 30 December 2015 - 05:46 PM

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,


#98219 Who Is Attending Nceca This Year? (Spring 2016)

Posted by Steven Branfman on 28 December 2015 - 07:38 PM

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,


#97738 Who Is Attending Nceca This Year? (Spring 2016)

Posted by Steven Branfman on 22 December 2015 - 09:45 AM

I'm there!

#92492 Qotw: Are "kiln Gods" Superstition?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 12 September 2015 - 09:31 PM

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.

#81988 Qotw: Do You Still Have Your First Piece?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 19 May 2015 - 07:35 PM

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"HAttached File  IMG_3876.JPG   78.04KB   0 downloads

#78261 Do You Touch Things In Museums?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 30 March 2015 - 07:11 PM

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.

#78226 What Do You Get Out Of This Forum Interaction?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 30 March 2015 - 08:43 AM

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.

#78193 2015 Potters Council Election Results

Posted by Steven Branfman on 29 March 2015 - 08:45 PM

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.

#76246 Can You Describe An Ah Ha Moment You Had?

Posted by Steven Branfman on 26 February 2015 - 10:16 PM

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.

#70840 Critique - Worst You've Heard

Posted by Steven Branfman on 27 November 2014 - 02:02 PM

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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