Workshops 2015

Kristen Kieffer pitcher demoWorkshops for 2015 are coming up quick. Seems early to think of next year, but we should always plan for play! Another workshop or two may pop up for the spring or fall, but below is what I currently have booked to teach this year.

First up very soon is a three-day hands-on at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY on January 17th – 19th with details here.

Also early in the year, on February 21st and 22nd, is a two-day demo workshop at Jeffcoat Pottery Studio in Calabash, NC, which is between Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC near the coast. Click here for all the juicy details.

Arrowmont ceramics studioLastly so far is my third five-day hands-on back at the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN for July 19th – 24th. You can register here, where you can check out my new spin on what I’m offering, also below:

Altered, Ornamented, & Drawn: No Fear! Our workshop will focus on conquering anxiety and embracing play in our sketchbooks and on our pots. We will be altering wheel-thrown or hand-built forms, and then embellishing them with an array of decoration techniques, from stamping and slip-trailing to sponging and resists. In between, we will investigate ways of drawing and collaging in our sketchbooks that are both fun and help fine tune influences and ideas. Demonstrations include throwing, altering and building off the wheel, darting, and a variety of deco techniques including stamp-making. You will leave the workshop with a collection of new skills, a better understanding of timing in clay, and confidence!

All my workshops and most techniques are equally suitable for both throwers and hand-builders with basic skills required.

If I’m not coming where you’d like me to be, please do pass along the Workshops page of my website to your favorite venue as that’s frequently how they come about. As always on that page, you can see the full list of where I’ve taught in the past, more info on what’s offered, as well as new venues as they’re booked. Hope to see you!

PS: If you just can’t make a workshop, I do have a DVD on Surface deco available right here.

Galloway, Kline, & Kieffer on Tales of a Red Clay Rambler

Julia Galloway, Michael Kline, and Kristen Kieffer on Ben Carter's Tales of a Red Clay Rambler
pFellow potter Ben Carter has a wonderful podcast, Tales of the Red Clay Rambler featuring studio potters and “culture makers” from around the world, that I love and listen to regularly. This past February, while we were all together for the Florida Heat Surface workshop symposium, he invited studio potters Julia Galloway, Michael Kline, and me to sit down and discuss for the podcast some of the individual and group conversations we had been having about pottery trends, design, copying, imagery, and how social media impacts all of those as well as our studio lives.

I admit it’s hard to talk with a microphone so close to your mouth you could lick it and knowing your words are being recorded to be replayed by hundreds, but it was neat to listen back because that was such a fun week together.  This conversation could have gone on for hours, there’s so much more to say and add.  Thank you to Ben for being such a great host with tough questions, and Michael and Julia for the fast-paced and smart exchange.

Have a listen right here to episode #61, and enjoy!

Florida Heat Surface 2014 Pictorial

The Florida Heat Surface 2014 presenters (left to right) outside St. Pete Clay: Michael Kline, Kristen Kieffer (me), Julia Galloway, Forrest Lesch-Middleton, Ben Carter, Chandra DeBuse, Adam Field, and Lisa Orr.

This past week I had the good fortune to co-present with seven outstanding potters for St. Petersburg Clay Company‘s first Florida Heat Surface Workshop, and had such a wonderful time, I wanted to share some pix of the five days.

Florida Heat Surface Workshop 2014

Roll your cursor over each image for the brief caption, or click to enlarge. Most of these images I took on my Instagram, and there are plenty more pix folks shared with the hashtag #flheatsurface on their Instagram, which you can also see compiled here.

Chandra DeBuse demo  Forrest Middleton demo    Adam Field demo    Chandra DeBuse and Kristen Kieffer demo    

Big, huge thank yous to the hosts with the most, St. Pete Clay crew Matt Schiemann, Adam Yungbluth, Valerie Scott Knaust, and Artists-in-Residence Bryce Dyer, Sarah Holt, Jess Carter, Jeremy Wallace, Lydia Johnson, and Holly Siggelow; my rockin’ fellow presenters; all the lovely participants; and Ben Carter and Adam Field for the invite!

Workshops 2014

Florida Heat St. Petersburg Clay Symposium ad
Time to start thinking about warm and fun! I have a variety of workshops coming up quick, so wanted to share with you.

First up, February 19 -23 is the Florida Heat Surface Design Symposium, which is a five-day extravaganza of awesome with Ben Carter, Chandra DeBuse, Adam Field, Julia Galloway, Michael Kline, Forrest Middleton, Lisa Orr, and me at St. Petersburg Clay Company. Details including the daily schedule are right here.

Archie Bray Foundation 2014 Workshop adI just heard there’s one slot left for my three-day hands-on workshop at the Archie Bray Foundation Memorial weekend, May 23 -25. If you’d like to be in Helena, MT this spring, click here for more info.

I just booked a three-day demo workshop to present alongside Adam Field and Matt Long at the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts in Mount Saint Francis, IN (just over the bridge from Louisville), June 12 – 14. Info should be available soon here.

And lastly (for now), I’ll be back for a five-day hands-on workshop at Sugar Maples Center for the Arts in the Catskills, NY, July 24 -28. Check out that registration info here.

If I’m not coming where you’d like to be, please do pass along my website as that’s frequently how they come about. As always, you can see the full list of where I’ve taught in the past, and more info on my Workshops Page. And you can see the full list of my teaching and exhibitions with links for more information as they’re scheduled on my Schedule PageHope to see you!

Lovely Intangibles: A Statement

This is the article I wrote for the NCECA Journal, Volume 34 as one of the
demonstrating artists for the 2013 conference in Houston; my thoughts on
function and ornamentation:

Kristen Kieffer Cups 'Clover deluxe'

“Look Doris, someday you’re going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work. And when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.” ~ John Payne as Fred Gailey in the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street

I believe beauty is a worthwhile pursuit, and my pots are a celebration of that beauty. Stated simply, I make decorative pottery that is meant to be used. While working in my studio, I simultaneously consider the aspects of a well-functioning pot and the elegant decoration that enhances a strong form. These three components (function, ornamentation, and form) combined yield a beautifully designed object celebrating the beauty of everyday use. This “ornate utility” is probably an oxymoron to some, but it is my goal as a potter. I seek to make pots that balance good function with robust decoration, which is very different from making complex pieces for special occasions. The latter pursuit is more about elaboration than use. Making decorative pots for everyday requires equal consideration of function, form, and surface; an attention and tribute to what I call the “lovely intangibles.”

The lovely intangibles are what I think about when I’m working in my studio and reference when I teach; the elements that we can be more aware of when they are missing, ironically, than when they are included. They are the aesthetic and functional components that make up the whole of a considered pot, anything from the ribbed edge that delineates a curve to the shadowed reveal of a carved foot. They are the fine details necessary in creating an equally well-functioning yet elegant piece, but something that may not be definable (or even identifiable) to the user. These lovely imperceptible, elusive intangibles are crucial in the completion of a beautiful, useful object.

My active consideration of the details is required for the pots to be both appreciated and used when they leave my studio. The best compliment is when a customer is attracted to my work because of the form, picks up the piece because of the surface, and delights in the strength of the piece once it is in their hands; none of which may have been conscious thoughts. A customer’s split-second conclusion to like and/or buy a piece is in response to my attention to all the micro and macro intangibles, like purposefully making my pottery handles plump, walls strong, and lips full for comfort, for example. By altering and/or stamping the clay at an early stage I refer to as suede, the pots have a soft appearance which makes them more inviting. I use a variety of decoration techniques like slip-trailing and slip-sponging to provide tactility and visual depth. All of my work is glazed with mostly satin surfaces of rich colors adding to the user’s pleasure. The integration of tactile decoration with soft forms and solid components make the pieces touchable and inviting.

I refer to my work as ‘ornately, elegant for everyday’ and classify my pots as ‘Victorian modern.’ Both of these phrases fit my desire for cross-cultural influence, and an appreciation of an era when ornamental abundance was also useful. I want to offer my customers a bit of luxury for their home décor and daily life. My hope as a maker is to marry my diverse influences and the splendor of past eras with a modern desire for artistry and function. My influences range from 18th century, silver service pieces and Moroccan architecture to couture clothing and industrial design for form ideas, and from Art Nouveau illustrations and vintage embroidery to cake fondant and upholstery for pattern ideas. Such diversity combined with my own background and distinct studio processes culminate into a style that I hope is as unique as it is luxurious.

I enjoy my pursuit of beauty, making ornately functional pots for those who would like a little elegance in their everyday. Attention to those lovely intangibles so another can enjoy their morning coffee a little more is what makes being in my studio worthwhile.

See You in Houston!

CM Ad for NCECA 2013 Kristen KiefferPictured: Ceramics Monthly ad with pots by Bede and myself.
47th NCECA Conference, March 20-23, 2013
George R. Brown Convention Center ~ Houston, TX
Demonstrating Artists: Bede Clarke, Gerit Grimm,
Kristen Kieffer, and Walter McConnell

Bede Clarke and I are onstage Thursday, 9-noon and Friday, 1-4; Gerit Grimm and Walter McConnell are Th afternoon and Fri morn. The whole NCECA 2013 schedule and details are available right here. Come cheer me on!

Workshops 2012

As we start to dream of spring and make summer plans, I thought I would blog the dates for my upcoming workshops. This year started early with two-day demos in Baton Rouge, LA at LSU in January, and Troy, NY at The Arts Center in February.

Next up, Memorial weekend, May 26th, 27th, and 28th, I’ll be close to home for this shorter, three-day hands-on workshop at Snow Farm in Williamburg, MA.

If you’re raring for a five-day hands-on workshop, I hope to see you in the Catskills July 12th – 16th at Sugar Maples in Hunter, NY. And finally, September 29th and 30th, I’ll be out in Lawrence, KS for a two-day demonstration at Bracker’s Good Earth Clays.

If you’d like me to come to your area and there is a venue nearby where workshops are offered, please do pass along my information as that’s frequently how they come about! As always, you can see where I’m teaching and exhibiting next with links for more information on my Schedule Page, as well as review the full list of my hands-on and demo workshops into 2013 on my Workshops Page. Hope to see you!

Escape & Play 2011

As my first workshop of the year approaches, I thought I’d post my 2011 workshop schedule for those of you thinking of warmer weather and planning a time to play and escape!

Two-day demo at Wesleyan Potters in Middletown, CT on March 19 – 20. Three-day hands-on at MudFire in Decatur, GA on April 29 – May 1. Five-day hands-on at Long Beach Island Foundation in Loveladies, NJ on June 13 – 17. Five-day hands-on at Santa Fe Clay in Santa Fe, NM on July 11-15. Five-day hands-on at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN on August 7 – 13. In collaboration with my solo show “Lovely Intangibles,” two-day demo at Plinth Gallery in Denver, CO on Oct 8 – 9. And two-day demo at Edinboro University in Edinboro, PA November 9 -10. Whew!

If there is a venue in your area where you would like to see me teach, please pass along my website url to the workshops coordinator as I begin booking for 2012. That is frequently how they come about! My scheduled workshops are always listed on my Workshops page as they’re booked (where you can also see pics, info and places I’ve taught), as well as with links on my Schedule page.

I’m honored and delighted be invited to teach at such fabulous places, and hope to see some of you soon!

Summer Tour & 2011

I am about to head off on my “2010 Summer Tour,” so thought I’d do a blog post before this almost six week hiatus.  I have been a bit delinquent about writing here lately, and though I post regularly on my Facebook Ceramics page, I’ve just been too busy with my studio sale, making work before leaving, and enjoying being in, or on the porch next to, my perennial garden. Pictured new striped cake stands just unloaded from the glaze kiln (and The Studio Potter thank you postcard for donating via AKAR’s yunomi invitational).

The first leg of my tour is a drive down to North Carolina so I can teach for the first time at the Penland School of Crafts.  I know firsthand how great a place Penland is which makes returning to teach for two weeks with my own large class of 20 (and with ceramic artists Jenny Mendes and Alice Ballard teaching in the other studio), a fantastic treat.

The second trip is my second Artists-Invite-Artists residency at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. The first time I was invited; this time I am a co-inviter with the talented Rebekah Bogard.  We met during the same AIA residency two years ago, and were having such a wonderful time, that by the second or third night, we sat down and came up with a list of artists for our next residency.  Now two years later, in addition to showing at the Salad Days Pottery Invitational, our AIA group of talented (and fun) artists will be converging on Watershed very soon for two full weeks of making and mayhem: Kurt Anderson, Mark Burns, Jason Green, Bryan Hiveley, Kathy King, Phyllis Kloda, Lorna Meaden and Nick Sevigney. Pictured new striped plates just unloaded from the glaze kiln.

The last stop is not at all the least.  I am very much looking forward to a week of teaching for the first time at the Appalachian Center for Crafts.  And since this workshop is over my birthday, we will have an extra special time! Check out the Schedule page for my fall workshop tour schedule.  Pictured new striped house form, flower bricks just unloaded from glaze kiln.

Which brings me to the beginnings of my schedule for 2011.  Workshops are always being added throughout the year, so check back on my Schedule or Workshops pages. I will be making a return trip in August 2011 to the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts where I was an artist-in residence (1997-98), and taught one of my first workshops in 2004.  I’m looking forward to the new and familiar, and Gatlinburg is always a riot.  Check out Arrowmont’s website for information on their re-location efforts, and how you may be able to help insure this great place has a new space.

So that’s where I’ll be for the next six weeks, and some of where I’ll be at this time next year.  I’ll be back here (home and the blogosphere) in August.  But if you don’t see a post it’s because I’m helping my hubby renovate our bathroom….or catching up on lost time in my garden.  Happy Summer, everyone!

Teaching Again!

wccclayclassI am very pleased to announce, share or repeat that the Worcester Center for Crafts is re-opening this January!  Some of you may know about its closure, but I am now delighted to report that Enameling, Glass, Metals, Photography and CERAMICS (both wheel-throwing and handbuilding) studios will all begin classes the week of January 18th.

And after a year “off” from where I taught for over seven years, I will be back teaching Wednesday mornings and evenings! This news is nothing short of miraculous.  Please show your support by joining WCC’s email list here, taking a one-day workshop, attending exhibitions in the gallery, buying handmade in the gift shop, volunteering for events, and of course, signing up for a class the week of Thanksgiving!  Our community has much to be thankful for!