Rolfe native offers pottery in Pocahontas

Steven J. Graeber, a native of Rolfe, Iowa, moved away from this area quite a while ago, but he still has connections to Iowa. His parents now live in Spencer, his sister and brother-in-law live near West Bend, and Berniece Sedlacek, now of Omaha but a long-time Pocahontas resident, is his aunt. Graeber now owns and operates Pottery Creations in the Denver area. His work is now being carried at Rhythms and Blooms in Pocahontas.

“My first exposure to working with clay was as a grade school student attending Summer Bible School in Rolfe,” noted Graeber. “It was then that I started using my juxtaposed initials, SJG, as my ‘mark’ on the bottom of all my work.

“My first pottery throwing class was in Manhattan Beach, California in 1984. My artistic endeavors really blossomed after I moved to the Denver, Colorado area in 1998. Having been a computer engineer, working with clay has allowed me to develop my creativity, but periodically I am told that my pieces do have a masculine/engineer look and feel.

“I find that clay, being an organic medium, allows for many unknowns in the process of creating art. Total control of the process is impossible because of all the variables involved from the clay itself to the glazes to the firing. To me that is part of the fun, and I always say that there is ‘magic’ involved.

“My pieces are always unique and I am perpetually looking for new styles and decorating ideas to enhance my creativity. When throwing I start with a shape idea but frequently the clay tends to have a mind of its own. Recently I have been modifying the shape of my work after it is thrown and this makes for some interesting vessels.

“My favorite process is raku because of its higher level of variables. I enjoy the excitement of pulling red-hot clay vessels out of the kiln and then the fire that results from placing them in metal trash cans filled with saw dust, straw and newspaper. It is amazing to see the final results of the glazes after this process!”

Editor's Note: Steven would have been a 1962 RHS graduate had he not moved away during high school.

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