Steven and his son, Jared
In 2005, Jared Branfman died of brain cancer at the age of 23. A week after his death, his father, Steven Branfman, a potter and teacher, went into his studio, took some clay and made a chawan, a Japanese style tea bowl. Each day for one year, he made one chawan - they were the only pots he made. Steven’s daily chawan made at his wheel was his own personal kaddish, (the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning).
For 9 years, these 365 bowls sat unfinished on shelves in his studio. One day, in the 9th year, he decided to glaze and fire these bowls, bringing them to life with color and sheen.
A Father’s Kaddish is the personal story of a man who created an art form to honor his son and his son’s memory. This powerful film shows traditional and non-traditional ways for people to grieve. From one man’s poignant story at the intersection of love, art, and ritual comes a universal lesson for all who have experienced loss.
The exhibition of the fired chawan was the impetus for this documentary. For more information click here.
MEET THE SUBJECT
Steven Branfman received his MAT from Rhode Island School Of Design in 1975 and enjoys an international reputation as a clay artist. In 1977 he founded The Potters Shop & School in Needham MA as his studio, pottery school, gallery, and pottery bookstore. He has been teaching pottery at Thayer Academy in Braintree, MA for 42 years. His Raku ware is in the collections of several museums. He is the author of four Pottery and Raku books. He is a popular workshop presenter giving guest demonstrations and lectures of his pottery forming, glazing, and firing techniques all over the world.