November 28, 2014 Interview with Dori Braun


Dori Braun, pictured here in the pottery studio of the old Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre.

1. What are you working on?
Currently I am working on new hand built forms in stoneware clay, as well as altering wheel thrown work. I am exploring patterns and textures in new and exciting combinations. My work is freeing up and becoming more playful these days. I love that.

I am in the process of setting up a new studio space at home so I can strengthen my individual style in clay. This year, I am working in my studio full time. This is new to me as I have always worked outside the home while trying to fit my art around my children and career. Now I am putting the art work first and it is a big challenge to stay the course.

I have my work in a few local galleries and shops, and have had requests from several other galleries outside of the local area. So currently my focus is on building up enough inventory to supply the demand for my work. The time each piece of pottery takes to make can be daunting, and I have no interest in being a production potter. I am exploring how to create enough work to supply the demand, while maintaining enough time to continue to explore my creative ideas as they come to me.

2. What matters to you most as an artist? 
The thing that is most important to me as an artist is finding that space where my skills and my passions connect. As my curiosity is ever increasing I must always improve my skills to keep the flow open. It is a constant challenge to keep learning so I can freely explore my next new exciting idea. It matters to me to remember I am eternally a student in art and in life, always green, always growing.

3. Any tips for balancing your artistic practice with the rest of your life?
I don’t know the answer to finding balance for anyone else, but for me and my family, we make artistic practice a high priority. This requires some sacrifice of some of the more mainstream ideas. It is about values. Art, and creativity in general, are tremendously valuable to me as it keeps me centered and happy. I am endlessly challenged and curious. I don’t worry about balancing and instead I simply accept the ebb and flow that the seasons allow for my artistic endeavors. When fall comes I can’t get the harvest in fast enough as I feel the strong pull to get into the pottery studio. Then by spring I am aching to move my hands from the clay to the garden soil once again. I have tried the lifestyle of working a full time job with no creative outlet, and I know I am not good at doing that. I am not a nine to five person. Often I work more than 12 hours a day. I work hard at what I love to do. It may not pay well, but I have accepted that it is what fits for me.

Music is a constant companion in my house as well. Someone is always playing a guitar or mandolin or singing a new tune. My family and I have an almost daily practice of encouraging each other to pursue our latest passions. We are the safe place for each of us to test out new creative endeavors. We try not to deny our creative side because we have a respect for how much the soul craves expression. We are busy people who are most happy when we are pursuing that which makes our hearts sing.

4. Who are your artistic influences?
I have studied the history of the English potteries as well as much of the Japanese, Turkish, and Italian potters. The craft itself is no longer a functional necessity, but people grow weary of mass produced items, They are intuitively drawn to a special cup that fits the hand just right when they drink their morning coffee or tea. Or that special bowl that doesn’t just hold, but embraces the food they serve. They still appreciate that lovely flow of line that no machine can recreate.

So here are many current potters whose work I am influenced by. I have never attended a formal ceramic program, so I do a lot of self-education, study and research. Carol Wedemeyer is a marvelous potter, and my favorite at the moment. Martha Grover is an inspirational potter who makes soft, flowing forms in porcelain. I love Julia Galloway’s work as well. She has such a strong knowledge base and a dedication to her work that I admire. Also, Carol Gouthro is someone who’s work amazes me. She has the ability to express her creative visions without restriction. These are just a few of the many current potters that influence me. I have a great respect for anyone who can actually do pottery for a living.

There has been many local artists who have influenced my work as well. Laine Dahlen for sure, Cindy Clarke, Bob Young, Shannon ButlerRoy ForbesEmily Mattson, and Peter Von Tiesenhausen, have all been a source of inspiration for me.

5. How does the Peace Liard community influence your artistic practice?
The Peace Liard community is a very supportive environment for an artist to grow in. I cannot imagine my art outside of the context of my community. They are strongly intertwined. I have been a member of the local potters guild since the late 1970′s and have watched it grow and change through the years. I have taught pottery to many people of all ages over the years. I believe that every student, every fellow potter, has influenced my art in subtle ways. For me, art is a way to open the soul, and bring people closer to each other.

It is important to note that the fact that we are a smaller, more northern community also affects us as artists. Personally, I am aware of the difficulty in accessing other artists for workshops, and education. I wonder how different my work would be if I had easier, more affordable access to resources such as the lower mainland. Local people are seeking connection and a nurturing support to explore and advance their individual creative ideas.

I am also a founding member of the Peace Region Songwriters Association that has been going strong for nearly 20 years. I occasionally take a break from pottery to work in charcoal, oils, and watercolor. It doesn’t matter which medium I am exploring, it is just one of many ways of tapping into the source, and allowing it to flow outward. Art is the most powerful way I know of connecting our inner selves to our world and to others around us.

6. Can you share a picture of your work and/or your working space?


Candy Dishes


Teapot currently on display at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery.

Check out Dori’s Facebook Page

Check out Dori’s Music