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Biographical Informaiton :
FireGod Arts
Russell Andavall
1250 57th Avenue
Oakland, California 94621
Ceramic artist and Electronic multimedia artist

    Though I am a self taught ceramist, I draw on the ceramic traditions of Michael Cardew, Daniel Rhodes, Glenn Nelsen, Herb Sanders, Richard Berhenz, Shogi Hamata, and Carlton Ball. These master potters have all written books about the craft. It is through their many years of experiance that I have learned the tradition of the craft.
    My first clay experiences came as an observer of friends at the University of Puget Sound. These students of F.Carlton Ball enticed me into helping them fire wood burning, salt, Raku, and pit kilns. We gathered clay and brick and built kilns. I took a summer course at Tacoma Community College in 1971 and learned the basics of handbuilding and glazing.
    U.C. Riverside's student pot shop provided my first experiences throwing pottery on the wheel. I worked as an instructor to supplement my income as an attendant to the disabled. My first art shows at Riverside inspired me to leave my studies in psychology for courses in art. Art and ceramic craft work began to consume me. I spent whole days and nights in the pot shop. My spare time was spent reading art books and dreaming of creative endeavors. (This from a mediocre student who had trouble concentrating). Courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, and art history replaced physiological psychology, primate psychology and abnormal behavior.
    I went to Berkeley at Christmas in 1972 with friends. Subsequent trips in 1973 introduced me to Jules Seitz and The Potters Studio. Summer 1973 was the beginning of a dream come true. I realized that I could sell enough work on Telegraph Avenue as a street vendor to make a living. I returned to UCR to fulfill my commitments and plan a move to Berkeley.
    In March of 1974 Jules Seitz offered me employment as resident potter. The next two years, I studied art at Cal State Hayward, worked at The Potter's Studio, and sold my work on Telegraph Avenue as a street vendor.
    In 1976 I moved into my own apartment and rented a studio space at the West Coast Macaroni Factory. Larger more complete professional facilities enabled me to produce more work of better quality. I began to show at craft fairs and galleries. I showed at the Polk Street Fair, Castro, Noe Valley, Grant Street and Haight Street Fairs each year from 1978 to the present .
    My work has been shown at The Circle of Friends Gallery, Fox Florists, Many Moons Gallery, Famous Melissa Gallery and the Cal State Hayward Art Gallery.
    Articles in the Oakland Tribune, S.F. Chronicle, Berkeley Gazette and The Daily Californian highlight my work as a street vendor and craftsperson. I have worked on the Berkeley Street Artists Committee screening perspective vendors , helped promote and organize the Telegraph Avenue Christmas Fair, and authored street vending legislation as city ordinances in Berkeley.
    During the 1980's, I worked as a substitute teaching in the Richmond Public Schools in different art classes and special education classes. I returned to Cal State Hayward for certification in education as a secondary and Jr. College Instructor. I added electronic media and desktop publishing skills to my repetoire of talents. In 1994 I organized The first CSUH Video Animation Festival. For several years, I worked as teaching assistant at CSU Hayward in video animation and desk top publishing. I regularly attend Berkeley Mac Users Group meetings. I attend numerous conferences whose topics include electronic media, the internet, computers, video production and optics. These include MacWorld, Seybold, Intermedia, Macromedia, and the Berkeley Video and animation festival.
    My pottery is made from clays that I mix and formulate myself. I use several porcelain and stoneware bodies that fire at about Cone 12 (1300) with glazes that are based on ancient Chinese and Japanese formulas. I use two to five layers of glaze over each other and fire in a reduction atmosphere (smoky) to produce shiny glazes that flash brilliant colors in abstract patterns with incredible depth. I employ several other techniques of decoration involving carving the surface and enlaying glazes; using stains for figurative drawings , and collecting special materials for pooled glaze effects.
    My glazes are made from feldspar, silica, gerstely borate, talc, whiting and clay. I use cobalt, iron, rutile, copper, zirconium and other metallic minerals as colorants. These glazes are safe for use with food. The ware can be used in an oven or a microwave and is dishwasher safe. The ware will not withstand direct heat or flame.
    Currently, I live and work in my studio at the West Coast Macaroni Factory. I bought the studio and leases in 1978 and built a living space adjoining my studio. I rebuilt the kilns for more efficient use. I work in a variety of different media including video and desk top publishing.
    Long time friends Ed Monroe and Mark DeVito have helped me decorate the ware with historical renditions of Durer, Michaelangelo, Picasso, as well as original creations of Christian iconography, Greek mythology and abstract patterns.

Russell Andavall
The FireGod

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