Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mastering Raku: The Book and the Art Within, on view until March 19 at the Gorse Mill Studios

By Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Local potter Steven Branfman recently released his fourth book on pottery, Mastering Raku, published by Lark Books. As owner of the Gorse Mill Studios in Needham, MA Steve decided to take advantage of the gallery space in the building and develop an exhibit to compliment the book. Artists who are featured in the book, both internationally known and up-and-coming, were invited to show a few pieces and the result is a stunning and world class exhibit showing the wide range of styles in raku work. It is truly a show not to be missed. It is on view in the Jared Branfman Memorial Gallery inside the Gorse Mill Studios until March 19.

The show is a beautiful display of all that raku ceramics can be. Sculpture, from Gail Piepenburg's abstract wall pieces to Amber Aguirre's thin, frail figure of a man. Traditional pot shapes are represented in Steve Branfman's work, whose surface relies heavily on a balance between texture and color, and pieces by Charlie and Linda Riggs.

Their saggar piece, Nebula, is a beautiful swirl of bright reds with patches of pinks, purples, and metallic blues. Sizes range from the very small animal figure sculptures of Ruth Apter to the very large shapes of Richard Hirsch. Surfaces range from the rough, gritty texture of Don Ellis' pot to the smooth surface of glass melted into a coil around pieces of Nathan Anderson. Painterly approaches are shown in Kate and Will Jacobson's pot with turtles and Karen Mahoney's teabowls with images of Hokusai prints. Covering so many styles ensures that anyone can walk into the space and find something they really enjoy.

Take the opportunity to see this talent!

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