Pottery perfection: Brent Pafford M’14

BrentPaford1BrentPafford_StudioShotGrowing up exposed to heirlooms on his family farm in Rock Hill gave Brent Pafford an appreciation for creative work that holds multi-generational significance.

“The objects I create are made to be used, enjoyed and imbued with memories of shared experiences,” Pafford said.

He likes to use his colanders in his home in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where he resides with his partner. Pafford produces under the studio name Brent Pafford Ceramics and recently qualified as a finalist in Martha Stewart’s American Made contest, which honors creative entrepreneurs for their contributions to their field.

His pieces are made with the pinching wheel-thrown method which “allows the porcelain to capture, preserve and document the process of making,” Pafford explained.

Pafford collaborated with fellow Clemson MFA graduate Adrienne Lichliter and Chef Lindsey Byrd to produce “Southern Intentions: Prints, Pots and Provisions,” a series of dining events. He crafted the dinnerware used for the meal and displayed other work in a gallery.

“When I get to see [my work] utilized in the lives of others, it has to be the most exciting part of my job,” said Pafford.

Pafford participates in the national and international ceramic community through social media, blogs and publications. He attends the Council on Education for Ceramic Arts each year, where he contributes to national discussions and exhibitions.

Beside working as a one-man-band to operate his ceramic studio, he also works full-time as a framer.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way. Treading water doesn’t get you anywhere,” Pafford said.

To keep up with Pafford’s creative journey, go to his website at brentpafford.com.

Woodwalker excerpt, by Emily Benson Martin

WOODWALKER

PROLOGUE TO WOODWALKER

King Valien drummed his fingers on the rough table, the scars on his right hand shining pink against his copper skin.  Both he and the figure facing him were keeping their hoods up over their heads, and this extra covering coupled with the unsettling news he had just received were making his skin damp with sweat.  Before him, the only distinguishing characteristic the shadowed figure bore was a wrought silver band around one finger, set with a milky pearl.

“Are you sure?” the king pressed quietly.  The tavern buzzed with the ambient noise of townsfolk drinking away the day’s toils, but he could take no chances that he might be overheard.  If there hadn’t been a howling storm outside, he would have met his informant far out in the hills, away from sharp-eyed folk all too ready to report his surreptitious meeting back to his council.

“Positively,” replied his informant.  “I found them in Sunmarten.  All three.  Queen Mona Alastaire and her brothers.  My king, the royals of Lumen Lake are not dead as we assumed.  And it’s only a matter of time before our enemies find out as well.”

The king frowned, his fingers still restless.  This changed everything.  This threw every power in the eastern world into a startling unknown.  His own crown, so recently won, would be among the first to be affected.

“Well,” he said evenly, curling his fingers into a fist and staring at the hooded figure.  “We must do something about it.”

Read more about the Emily Benson Martin here.

MY CLEMSON: Eric Mac Lain ’15

 

during the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., Dec. 6, 2015. (Photo by Jason E. Miczek, theACC.com)

Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., Dec. 6, 2015. (Photo by Jason E. Miczek, theACC.com)

My name is Eric Mac Lain, and this past December, I became a Clemson alumnus. It was a day I thought would never come, but now that I am reflecting on it, I realize it happened in what seemed to be a blink of an eye.

My experiences at Clemson were second to none. I was very fortunate to have been a team captain during our special 2015 football season (14-1), losing only to Alabama in the National Championship. I graduated with a B.S. in health science and was able to start my master’s program in athletic leadership. This past fall, I had the honor of introducing Vice President Joe Biden when he spoke at Clemson.

More important than all of that, I found my future wife at Clemson. We met freshman year because she and my roommate were family friends, and I tagged along to a cookout. We became good friends and started dating two years later. So the phrase Clemson family is very real to me! Her father and other relatives went to Clemson, and both of our brothers now attend Clemson. It is safe to say that orange will run in our bloodlines for many years to come.

There is something special about Clemson that’s not true about every other university. As soon as we aren’t at Clemson or at least nearby, we miss it. I can attest to this because I have been away this spring training for the NFL, and cannot wait to be back in Tiger town.

I’m Eric Mac Lain and this is MY Clemson. CU soon!

You probably saw Eric Mac Lain during the coverage of the Orange Bowl and the National Championship as he was being interviewed by what seemed like every reporter in the country. Click on the photos below to see more about Eric’s life at Clemson.

Early Entrepreneur: Alex Skatell ’08

AlexSkatellBy age 10, Alex Skatell already had a knack for knowing his market. He convinced his dad to take him to Wal-Mart to buy 24-pack cubes of soda. From there he filled a rolling cooler with ice and the soda and went and sat on the smoldering hot corner near a halfway house and a golf course and just waited. The people came to him since he was selling soda for less than the local convenience store.

“I was doing so well that after a while [the convenience store] called the police on me. I was 10 or 11. I was really young. And they called the police on me to get me to move because they said I was taking their business,” Skatell laughed.

But he saw a need and anticipated it. Supply. Demand. Market-setting trends. He sees them.

Now, he’s anticipating the news, media and how stories will unfold and how people want to view, read, scroll or listen to their stories. Since his days on the corner, the construction science major has carried the same attitude into his ventures creating start-up Independent Journal Review and co-founding IMGE, a digital consulting firm. In the last year, Skatell was named to Forbes30 under 30” rising stars in media and was also named to Wired magazine’s “20 Tech Insiders Defining the 2016 Campaign.”

“I made a bet that I thought iPhones were going to change how we communicate with one another. … And I made a bet that Facebook … was going to change how news was distributed. So I didn’t just talk about it, I went about figuring out how this platform was going to do that and how could I best invest my time and energy into understanding this platform that would change how news was distributed,” he said.

This past fall Independent Journal Review played host to a Republican debate in New Hampshire along with ABC News by providing first-hand accounts from the candidates’ and viewers’ perspectives.

“So what our experience allowed to have happen was for everyone in America to have input in who’s up and who’s down during the debate. That’s what Americans are looking for in news. They expect the news not to tell them how to think, but show them what is happening and let them make their own decisions,” he said.

Skatell’s success looks like it happened overnight, but success and building two companies with 105 employees took a lot of rejection.

“Entrepreneurship is also just getting rejected and punched in the face nonstop. You really have to be a glutton for punishment,” he said. “You have a lot of people tell you no, and you have to make a lot of decisions that won’t go over well with a lot of people, but you know you have to be confident in your decisions and your vision. The barriers to entry for just anyone right now are so low. You don’t have to ask for permission.”

“I saw an opportunity,” he said. “There have been several times in my life where I’ve seen opportunities and I’ve leveraged just a very little amount of capital at my disposal and made big bets on whether or not those things would change an industry.”

Jane Duckworth named Honorary Alumna

Jane Duckworth receives a certificate naming her an honorary alumna from Danny Gregg, president of the Alumni Association board.

Jane Duckworth receives a certificate naming her an honorary alumna from Danny Gregg, president of the Alumni Association board.

Jane Duckworth of Atlanta is the newest Clemson honorary alumna. Her diploma may say Meredith College, but her life says Clemson loud and clear.

A member of the President’s Leadership Circle, she co-chaired the Will to Lead athletics capital campaign committee with her husband, Ed, during the leadership phase; is chair of the tennis capital campaign committee; and supports the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts and scholarships for the College of Business and Behavioral Science. The Duckworths also donated $500,000 to create the Duckworth Pavilion, an enhancement to the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center, and have been inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Cumulative Giving Society.

After graduating from Meredith College, Duckworth taught elementary school in Clemson while her husband, Ed, completed his degree in civil engineering at Clemson. They have three children, Jeff Duckworth ’88, Leeanne Melvin ’90 and Jim Duckworth.

Honorary alumni are selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee for their outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to the University or the Alumni Association.

New Alumni App Available

iphone app alumni_A new Clemson Alumni app is live and available in iTunes. The app pulls stories from the RSS feeds on official Clemson websites including the Newsstand, Athletics, Clemson World and Tigers on the Move. After downloading, you will be able to customize your app experience based on the content you want to see. In addition, you can update contact information through the app and find upcoming events. The app is not yet available through Google or Android stores. To download, go to the App Store and search for Clemson Echo.

McMillian honored with endowed professorship

Provost Bob Jones (left), Heather and Glenn Hilliard, Patrick McMillan and George Askew, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, at the professorship presentation.

Provost Bob Jones (left), Heather and Glenn Hilliard, Patrick McMillan and George Askew, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, at the professorship presentation.

Professor and naturalist Patrick McMillan, co-creator and host of the Emmy-award winning ETV nature program “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan,” has been named the recipient of the Glenn ’65 and Heather Hilliard Endowed Professorship in Environmental Sustainability.

The Hilliards have given $1 million to establish an endowment at Clemson for a professor to teach and motivate future generations to both treasure and manage the balance between the natural and human-made worlds. The gift qualified Clemson for a dollar-for-dollar match from the state under the SmartState program, creating a $2 million professorship.

“Both Heather and I are thrilled Patrick was selected,” said Glenn Hilliard, a noted business leader, environmentalist, arts patron and education advocate. “The purpose of this professorship is to foster the identification and preservation of natural environments in the state of South Carolina and to identify and support sustainable development and economic growth for our state in places other than in or around our irreplaceable natural environments. “Heather and I love South Carolina and its natural heritage, and we want our state to be a wonderful place to live, play and work for generations to come.” Director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, McMillian has worked as a naturalist, biologist and educator. He is a professional naturalist and faculty member in the forestry and environmental conservation department. “I am extremely humbled and honored to be the recipient of the Hilliard Professorship,” McMillan said. “This gift will greatly advance and embolden our efforts to advance the preservation of the natural and cultural resources that make South Carolina the state that we all love and enjoy. This is a gift that will benefit the economic and environmental integrity of South Carolina for generations.” The Hilliard gift is part of the Will to Lead for Clemson campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.

Swann pledges $3.3M Cornerstone Gift to Clemson athletics facilities 

Joe Swann (center) with President Clements and Coach Brownell.

Joe Swann (center) with President Clements and Coach Brownell.

Joe Swann ’63 has been a lifelong supporter of Clemson, and recently he and his wife, Barbara Ann “Bobbi” Swann, provided a Cornerstone Gift of $3.3 million to athletics. Pushing his lifetime giving total near $5 million, Swann joins fellow board of trustees member Bill Hendrix, along with Betty Poe and an anonymous donor, in their support of Clemson Athletics’ facilities projects.

In recognition of the Swann family donation, the new addition to Littlejohn Coliseum housing practice court, locker rooms and coaches’ offices — the everyday home of the basketball programs — will be named Swann Pavilion.

Swann’s history of philanthropy to the University includes the Swann Fitness Center on campus named in the family’s honor and an endowment of the men’s soccer coaching position. He was a leader of his class and its gift of $1 million to name the Class of 1963 Bridge to Clemson Program.

“Joe Swann has always been an outstanding leader for Clemson beginning with his student days when he served as class president,” said President Clements. “Joe and Bobbi and their children have given incredible support to the University. I am grateful for everything they have done for academics, student life and athletics. Clemson is a special place because of people like Joe Swann and his family.”

The Clemson Athletic Cornerstone Program is a vital part of the new athletics facilities initiative. With new facilities, upgrades or rebuilds planned for football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and Vickery Hall, it will be the most comprehensive change to athletic facilities ever undertaken at Clemson.

“We can’t thank Mr. Swann and his family enough for their support of our program,” head basketball coach Brad Brownell said. “I know this first-class facility will be a difference-maker for our student-athletes, and we’re honored to have the Swann family name on the home of Clemson basketball.”

This gift is part of the $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson capital campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.

View the announcement of the Swann family’s Cornerstone gift: