Studio # L109
Clay Artist, Founder; the Gorse Mill Studios
Steven Branfman grew up in New York City. and credits a rich cultural childhood as being the influence that led him to an art career. Steven has been an independent studio potter since 1975 and enjoys an international reputation as a potter, writer, teacher, and businessman. In 1977 he founded as his studio, The Potters Shop & School which has become a nationally known studio, school, gallery, bookstore, and artists workspace. Since 1978 Steven has been on the faculty of Thayer Academy in Braintree MA. Steven's raku ware has appeared in more than 150 group and one-person exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and abroad and is in the permanent collections of the American Museum Of Ceramic Art; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School Of Design; Schein-Joseph International Museum Of Ceramic Art: Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum; Everson Museum, Crocker Art Museum, among others. He is the author of Mastering Raku, Raku: A Practical Approach, and The Potters Professional Handbook, and writes frequently for international craft and pottery magazines. Steven is a popular workshop presenter having done over 100 presentations of his pottery forming, decorating, and firing techniques in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
I've been involved with clay full time since 1975 making work, exhibiting, teaching, writing, and operating my own studio. From my earliest introduction to clay I have always been fascinated and excited about the wheel. It is not one, but all of the components of that tool that hold and keep my interest; the speed, fluidity, and in particular, the sense of growth I observe and control during the process. My aim and ambition is to make good pots. My work is about vessels and the characteristics that define and make the vessel come alive: volume, texture, color, scale, and containment. One of my objectives is, through my vessels, to preserve the connection between contemporary ceramic expression and pottery’s origins as functional containers, not to transform and abandon it. Though my forms are not functional as in domestic ware, they are vessels that remain true to their origins.
I don't see the surface of my pots as canvases that sit on the surface to decorate, but rather as a skin that defines and communicates what is underneath. The inspiration for my surfaces come from my observation of the visual images and tactile objects around me: rock faces, landscapes, tree bark, raw earth; the colors of sand, sky, oceans, sunsets; the patina of copper; lava rocks, worn concrete sidewalks, the green mold that grows on shingles and fence posts; grass, moss, coral and more.