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children following their parents

updated mon 9 dec 02


Elizabeth Herod on fri 6 dec 02

Jared Branfman, Steve=B9s son spent the summer with Jeff Shapiro for Jeff=B9s
anagama firing.

Jared is a student at Alfred, I believe.

I attended one of Jeff=B9s workshops, Jared was there, and explained Steve=B9s
raku and glass creations.

Anyway, this is one example of a potter=B9s child being a potter.

On another note, my mother is a musician. She would probably have preferre=
to play only in certain concerts and events. However, she taught piano and
played the organ at church in addition to her other activities. Even thoug=
she picks up every cold every year, she loves teaching the =B3wooly-wallies=B2.


Alisa Liskin Clausen on sun 8 dec 02

My daughter likes to get into the studio. However, she said "I will not =
be a potter". I was a little harrrumffed, thinking, well, what is =
wrong with what I do? (echoes of my father when I got my BFA and was =
quickly sent off to secretarial school). =20

Helene said that she did not want to have to work in a cold studio in =
rubber boots, use cold water from buckets and get up three times a night =
to check if the kiln is firing.

Good girl.

Now the kiln works, the studio is warm and I sleep most nights. Time =
for a re-evaluation.

regards from Alisa in Denmark

Janet Kaiser on sun 8 dec 02

I was not denying that there are many examples of children following in the
footsteps of their potting parent/s. The Bernard Leach dynasty is now
famously in its third generation. Joe Finch, son of Ray Finch (who took
over Winchcombe Pottery from Michael Cardew) lives and works here in Wales
and Alan Caiger-Smith's son took over his father's studio...

And let's face it, they are in quite a different league to us lesser
mortals! These are the children of HIGH PROFILE and VERY SUCCESSFUL
internationally known potters! It is real "standing on the shoulders of
giants". They have a "name" before they are out of nappies. Their parents
are most definitely NOT ordinary run-of-the-mill, just-getting-by
production potters. Even "our very own" Steve Branfman is not exactly
unknown, thanks to his marvelous book on Raku, his articles AND his
workshop circuit.

Children will follow in the footsteps of parents who are successful and
honoured members of society, IF they have the inclination/talent and
outgrow that rebellious teenage grouch thing early enough :-) But, even if
they are talented and could easily become a potter just by continuing the
training of skills they have been acquiring from the cradle, they will lack
any inclination, if their parents are perceived not to be in a "socially
acceptable", "upwardly mobile" and "financially secure" group. There is
little kudos or street cred growing up in a poor potting family and even if
they do not overtly resent it, they will nevertheless look for alternative
careers for themselves. Indeed, many potters actively discourage their
children from following in their footsteps and in our society, education
and alternative career opportunities are open to everyone.

I still bet that the number of "unknown studio potter" children on this
list (and elsewhere) is negligent. I am naturally not speaking of the third
world at one extreme and more civilised countries/societies like Japan at
the other. In the third world, where it is expected for the son/daughter to
continue from the father/mother, who in turn inherited the business/skills
from the grandfather/mother (usually single gender lines) are established
traditions, although they would love their children to be given the
opportunity of escaping their lowly social status of making pots for
peanuts. The other end of the scale is Japan, where the inheritance
tradition is prized by society as a whole: Just look at the legendary "Raku
Family", now (reputedly) in the 15th generation! Everyone on this list is
somewhere in between these two extremes.

Take out those who are the children of academics or teachers at other
educational institutions, the amateur/hobby/student/2nd career potters,
those who are heavily subsidised by a second income (their own or another)
and those whose parents had a large business / workshop / production
pottery with 3 or more employees, ignore the big ceramic household names...
and what have we left? Those whose parents were "unknown potters". How many
are there on this list? How many will there be in the future?


Janet Kaiser

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