Nov. 7, 2019
The NAU School of Art will recognize one of its program champions with the firing of a refurbished wood-burning kiln built by the man they are honoring.
Don Bendel was a longtime faculty member who is credited with building the ceramics program to its current stature. He collaborated with Japanese artist Yukio Yamamoto to build the Tozan Anagama kiln throughout the 1980s. NAU’s ceramics program still uses this wood-fired anagama kiln, which has been used by students and professionals alike.
Bendel, who died in January, had his work represented in more than 17 collections that are exhibited in countries such as Finland, Russia and Japan. In addition to his artistic accomplishments, Bendel was critical to the growth of NAU’s ceramics program and was named a Regents’ Professor during his time at the university.
The ceramics department will light the anagama kiln once more to honor Bendel’s life, memory and contributions to the Flagstaff community and NAU. His family will be in attendance to scatter some of his ashes into the kiln.
“We are dedicating the next firing of this kiln to his memory and the myriad of accomplishments in creating the ceramics program at NAU,” ceramics professor Jason Hess said. “Don’s teaching and mentorship had a life-changing impact on a great many students, and it has been a privilege for all to work in the amazing environment that he created.”
The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Ceramics Complex Wood Kiln, 1919 S. Lone Tree Road.