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Kelvin Bradford
Kelvin Bradford Ceramic Artist/Writer/Researcher

My fascination with clay started at Intermediate school and has continued ever since. I would become a collector /exporter/and then decided it was time to learn the techniques...

I have always enjoyed particularly natural effects /movement/asymmetry. and have spent many years developing a shell firing technique under gas firing conditions as at the time wood firing was impossible because of my location. A number of articles have been published on it (please refer to my website

From 1996 I have been regularly having solo exhibitions in Japan twice a year...given workshops and lectures…The standard of work there and quality of glazing is 'mindblowing' as is the respect that is accorded clay…I am currently exploring the 'anagama world'. This primitive kiln creates such amazing effects…. as well as revisiting glazed work with a number of new innovations.

While we live and continue to be almost submerged by new technology I am conscious of the fact that certainly the finest glazed work I have ever seen has been produced and fired in an absence of technology rather by instinct. Similarly the rebirth of the Anagama came about only when it was realized that firing with the Noborigama kiln could not produce the extraordinary effects created around the Momoyama /Muromachi eras .The Noborigama kiln was too efficient and predictable and this would eventually be its downfall…

I am reminded of the comments of Shiro Tsujimura without doubt one of the finest artists I have had the pleasure of meeting… Tsujimura commented '...I have never cared about a few scratches or marks on my pots if I could achieve the effects I want. My interest is in the less than perfect shape in the less than perfect kiln..' Comments taken from a translation by Barry Lancet Kodansha International

I thought I would make a few comments about 'Mingei' as it's much maligned from time to time I believe unnecessarily. It's a somewhat simplistic argument to blame the woes of the pottery world on 'mingei'…or Bernard Leach... particularly who seems to receive most of the attention. It was Yanagi's philosophy which was espoused. I think its difficult for particularly countries with a comparatively short history in clay to really understand why for example it is so revered in Japan. It is not uncommon to find up to 15 generations of potters following the family line. One of the reasons 'Installations' left Japan faster than they arrived was because clay itself is so revered and to add foreign bodies to it constituted contamination. Still today many masters are deeply philosophical and its difficult to get a handle on all of this unless one visits Japan for some considerable time and has the opportunity to visit kiln sites /talk with those involved.

Yanagi followed a particular path which was taken up by Leach and there are still many today embracing mingei…but its for each person to decide their particular path..price their particular piece for what they think its worth..and take /or reject any particular philosophy.We need to take responsibility for our own actions...

So please let's not blame the woes of the ceramic world on mingei.. I myself do not particularly follow the mingei philosophy but have a great respect for those that do.

Instructor:. Kelvin is available to take classes Click here for details 

Contact Details
021 081 45594
Postal Address
9 Freemans Way
Upper Hutt
New Zealand
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