BWW Interviews: BRUCE A. McCAUSLAND
Buffalo's Bruce A. McCausland is a busy man.
MCL: "Creative expressions through clay, reflections of emotions and feelings often with a sense of humor".
Can you elaborate?
BAM: Sure! I wanted to come up with an expression that describes my pottery and might spark some interest, that's really what I was trying to convey in a single line.
MCL: Your Mother, Grand Mother and Great Grandmother were all local Artist. Please tell us about them.
BAM: Interesting, isn't it, that most of artistic talent manifested itself in the opposite gender? Actually, it didn't, my father and paternal grandfather were accomplished writers, also my great-great-grandfather lectured and wrote extensively too, but before I discuss my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, I want to talk about them first.
My father has written and published several books and also composes poetry, his father, Walter McCausland was an amazing and highly disciplined man, he served as vice-president of Advertising and Marketing for the old bus and trolley line the NFT and its predecessor, the old IRC. He also wrote extensively about the history of Western New York, publishing many pieces while also serving as historian for Buffalo's first church (First Presbyterian, on Symphony Circle), a task I would later take on myself fifty years later, but that is another story. He was also very active with the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, serving as a trustee a He came to Buffalo from Philadelphia around 1925 and remained a resident of Buffalo until his death in 1966. Even today, if you googled Walter McCausland, many of his published writings will come up.
My mother was a graphic artist and painter who worked in the graphic arts departments in Kobacker's, AM&A's, and a few advertising agencies, near the end of her career, she had her own advertising agency. My paternal grandmother lived to be over a hundred years old, and was a very highly regarded artist, who served as historian for many years for the Buffalo Society of Artists; she has had her works displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Burchfield-Penney Gallery, Albright-Knox, etc., and was well known local artist. Her mother, was a truly amazing woman, a talented artist, researcher, photographer, and writer. I have often regretted never having the chance to know her as she died six or seven years before I was born.
MCL: You have stated your pottery has its own "unique technique". What would that be?
BAM: I'm sure that there is "nothing new" in pottery, but it is how you apply those techniques that make each creation unique. I simply combine existing techniques and put my "own spin" on it (so-to-speak), to create unusual pieces. I like to believe that I "think-outside-the-box" as I get easily bored doing something over and over, so I change it up and try something new. I often combine thrown pieces with hand-building techniques and create one-of-a-kind pieces.
MCL: You seem to be a very accomplished potter (is potter correct ). Please tell us about any upcoming events?
BAM: I have many passions, pottery and poetry being just a couple of them. As far as shows coming up, I will be displaying at the Elmwood Festival-Of-The-Arts in Buffalo, NY this coming August 23rd & 24th (Saturday & Sunday), followed by the Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival in Olcott, NY on September 13th & 14th (yes, I will be wearing my kilt! ;-) ), the Clarence Art Show November 1st & 2nd, and I plan on participating in the Parkside Community Association Holiday Arts & Crafts Show on November 29th.
MCL: How did you begin Writing?
BAM: Would you believe in grammar school I used to actually hate writing? It gave me hand cramps! Anyway, I loved creating, but every time I wrote a story in grammar school, I would find myself in trouble, I would be pulled out of class, sent to the principal's office, and my parents would be called in. It seems that I was a bit too creative in my story plots for teachers who were more concerned with grammar than imagination. Anyway, I suppose my first real indulgence in writing was while I was in the Navy, where creative log entries were frowned upon, and rhyming was not encouraged. But I really became serious with my poetry in the mid to late 1980's through the early 1990's.
MCL: You took a long break from Writing? Why? How and when did you get back into it?
BAM: Well, quite frankly, I got married in 1992, probably for all the wrong reasons and wrote my soon-to-be-wife a poem. It went over like "a lead balloon" absolutely no response, cold.... I was heart-broken. I suppose, that was a warning sign and I just didn't see it, because that pretty much reflected what that marriage would be like. It wasn't until I was downsized in 2009 that I first got back into pottery, then heard about an open-mic poetry reading group (Tangential Poetry) that was meeting at the 464 Gallery on Amherst St. that I once again began writing in earnest. I felt like I had been buried underground for almost twenty years and could finally breathe!
MCL: Describe your Poetry.
For some reason, I really enjoy the challenge of writing in rhyme, I have written poetry in prose, but I enjoy weaving tales in a rhyming fashion that takes the reader (or listener) on a journey. I try to paint a panoramic picture in words, with each phrase, a brushstroke of emotion. I love writing humorous poems, dark and compelling poems, and suggestive poems. Sometimes, an ironic twist or unexpected ending can make a piece all the more memorable, I try to write pieces that say something that gives the reader something "to chew on" after they are finished digesting my poem, hopefully, with a good taste in their mouth.
MCL: Please share a Poem:
Prophet, tell me what you see,
In your waking dreams,
Can you foretell all our futures,
Is all what it seems?
Does the future,
Reveal to you,
All that mankind,
Seeks as true?
When you look into our hearts,
Do you find compassion,
Are the hopes of all humankind,
Measured by their passion?
Tell me prophet,
If you may,
Will I live to love,
Prophet, do you realize,
The soothe of what you say?
If mankind can't resolve their issues,
What is the portent of this day?
If you cannot foretell out futures,
Then can you answer this?
Tell me what I have in store,
On my very next kiss,
Prophet, please I need to know,
Just what I next should do,
What words of wisdom can you share,
I beg of you a clue.
(c) 2014 Bruce A McCausland
MCL: You're a busy man. You are also part if a very entertaining group of guys. How did you get involved with "Red Blazer Men's Chorus"?
BAM: It was through someone I knew while still working for the federal government, he had just retired and mentioned that he sang with a group and asked if I was interested...a very unlikely start, eh? That was in 1994 and I am still singing with them!
MCL: Any upcoming shows?
BAM: We will start rehearsing the first Thursday in September and plan our first show around Veteran's Day, a single event that we will make an annual event, but the location has yet to be announced.
MCL: What else should people know about Bruce?
BAM: I love working with antiques, I collect old acoustical 78's (pre-1920's), I collect Edison wax cylinders, cylinder machines, books, I have tons of interests, I have a passion for adventure, I am a great cook, LOVE spicy foods, enjoy the outdoors, camping, hiking, canoeing, etc..., I spent some time in the Navy and traveled around the world in a submarine, otherwise, I guess I'm a pretty boring guy, huh?