I’m thrilled to share the link to a video interview with studio potter John Glick reflecting on nearly fifty years of being a full-time artist and mentor, plus a fantastic segment on his glazing (a truly wonderful treat).
Anyone who has taken a workshop with me knows how important and influential my one-year residency (1996-97) with John was and continues to be in my own life as a studio potter. I credit John with teaching me everything from properly packing pots and caring for my back by standing to throw, to my use of particular decoration techniques and—most importantly—that play is a crucial part of studio practice.
Pictured stills from the Cultural Connection: John Glick video interview, produced by the City of Farmington Hills Video Division. Watch the video here.
It’s a humbling delight to hear John refer to my year in his studio (04:15 – 07:45), and think back with fondness about that time of exploration, which helped pave the way to my being a full-time artist now. He uses the word “echo,” which is perfect as his support, energy, and influence have indeed reverberated through my mind and work (and back!) for the last sixteen years. He played a big part in my sense of discovery and exploration, and I’m thankful.
Thank you, John & Susie!
I like to think my cake stands aren’t just for cake. While I love cake (mmmm, cake), I like mentioning that cake stands work beautifully for general display in about every room in the home. Pictures do speak better than words, so I shot four of my display stands in four different vignettes in our own home to illustrate their wide-ranging function. Clockwise from top left: for jewelry and bobble boxes on the dresser, dressing table, or vanity in the bedroom; for toiletries and makeup in the bathroom; for a centerpiece, condiment catch-all on the dining table or kitchen; or for plants on a shelf or desk in the living room or office.
It’s fun to offer a stage for our treasured collections or highlight the things we love or use everyday. We think of using a cake stand for celebration, but why not celebrate the everyday? And when not being used daily in every other room, absolutely, put a cake on it!
Start your own celebration with a stand
available in my online shop right here.
Artist Janice Jakielski makes amazing (and tall) cakes for her stand!
I’m very happy to have a teapot in Lark Crafts’ new 500 Teapots Volume 2 book juried by studio potter and professor Jim Lawton. I have three teapots in the original 500 Teapots book, so it’s nice to be in the new and reflect on the evolution of my work (and teapots specifically) over the twelve intervening years.
I particularly like this passage excerpted from Jim’s introduction:
“The artists represented here are blending innovation and forward thinking with an awareness of what came before. They’re acknowledging a custom that’s deeply rooted in our consciousness even as they propose new forms and iterations for the teapot. Whether it’s used to bring people together or to celebrate solitude, the teapot occupies a special place in cultures all over the world.”
Lark’s 500 Series continues to be a wonderful resource for collectors, makers, and instructors alike. It’s just as fun to see how the teapots are organized in the book as it is to see them all. My Victorian Islamic, satin-glazed teapot is opposite a juicy, faceted one by Steven Roberts; each has as many similarities as differences. You’ll have to get the book yourself to see more examples of great teapot pairings!
I love the idea of grouping these ‘ceramic, candy collages’ (as my color palette is specifically chosen for pieces to be mixed and matched, and like candy, it’s hard to choose just one!), but I also make these to stand alone as a lovely focal point and accent for the home.
They have become a favorite for me to make, and I make them for the same reason I make a cup or plate: to bring a little beauty to the everyday. So whether on the wall or at the table, I believe we all need a daily dose of elegance.
Above are a couple in progress shots of me brushing blue underglaze into the stamped pattern of a cup, and then slip-trailing even more detail within. I designed and made this stamp after my childhood Matryoshka doll set, which now happily resides on my adult dining room bookshelf, and is looking at me as I write about her (them).
I throw, stamp (usually between 16 -18 stamps per depending on the stamp size), and alter each of this style cup, hand-pull and build the two-piece handles, and finish with slip-trail, and —now, about 2/3 of the time— underglaze deco.
I take out 25 or so stamps I designed and made to decorate my usual series of 30 cups, which keeps it interesting for me and adds to the one-of-a-kind nature of my work. Combined with my use of 10 different color glazes and 4 different color underglazes, there’s rarely two cups a year with the same stamp in the same colors. Plus, I’m also always adding and subtracting stamp patterns from my repertoire. So, there were only two Matryoshka cups in this series, each in a different blue, one with sky blue detail, the other with tangerine.
I sign all of my pots with a stamp I made (1999-00) of how I print my last name, ‘Kieffer.’ My cups also receive a second stamp at the base of my two-part handles: a mirrored pair of Ks. The KK styling is how I first signed my pots, and is a nod to my beginnings in clay (1991); a sentimental signature.
My cups are glazed with a satin exterior and glossy interior of similar colors to contrast the surface, add to the tactility and function, and allow the monochrome color to balance the surface and highlight the form. Glossy glaze is also brushed into the stamping to catch shine off the satin during use.
Each cup is individually made for comfort, durability, use, AND elegance. A study into the impact of cutlery and tableware on eating and enjoyment summarized in this NPR story perfectly reflects my goal of bringing ornate to the everyday. A handmade cup and plate can be a scientifically proven luxury that enhances your food and drink, a mini daily celebration for yourself. You can procure some of your own pottery enjoyment in my online shop right here.
Details of my pots above: Deluxe clover cup, Small covered jar, Large plate,
Flower brick, Screen vase pair, & Wall pillow tile.
More flowers have been popping up on my work in the last couple of years. And why not? I love them! In the dead of a Massachusetts winter, I long for spring and summer, and daydream about those floriferous seasons by placing a little bit of them on my pots.
First row: Penstemon & Eupatorium, Knautia, and Sedum & Geranium.
Second row: Alchemilla, Allium bulgaricum, and Heuchera.
I am completely preoccupied with being outside during this time of year, specifically, with being in or sitting beside my flower garden. I wrote about my lovely distraction four years ago in this Perennial Influence post, which still perfectly articulates every sentiment I have for gardening, so I hope you’ll give it a read. A recent pic I posted to my Ceramics Page of my main perennial bed and the corresponding number of thumbs up seems to indicate a universal need and appreciation for beauty and diversion, so I thought I’d do an updated pictorial from garden.
First row: Dicentra & Lamium, Sedum, and Nepeta.
Second row: Spirea, Digitalis & Knautia, and Heuchera, Hosta & Fern.
I seem to think about my plantings very similarly to how I think about my pots: How do they look from farther away, as well as close up? What colors best compliment a grouping? What shapes and textures add to the whole? Which are heartbreakers not worth the effort, and which make me the most happy?
First row: Salvia, Lupine, and Geranium, Heuchera, & Red-twig dogwood.
Second row: Ilex, Hosta (Patriot), and Dicentra.
All images courtesy of my gardens.
Below are detail pix of pottery and sculpture faves that have hugs & kisses of flora.
First row: Michael Connelly, Matt Wedel, and McKenzie Smith.
Second row: Makoto Kagoshima, Baraby Barford, and Kurt Anderson
Third row: Michael Kline, Michael Sherrill, and Steve Colby.
Fashion (from all eras, Elizabethan to Couture) has been a long-time influence for my work. The structure and detail of clothing inspire my own functional pottery forms and their decoration. Basically, there is always something new for me to uncover from clothing and textiles as influence. My most recent revelation is the expansive genre of needlework, which includes everything from crochet and embroidery to a myriad of techniques I’ve only begun to learn.
I own pillow cases tatted by my Grandma and Great Grandma, love quilts of all kinds, and knew that some of the 18th century clothes I adore had embroidery, but I’ve only just recently tuned into the wide-ranging variety of needlework design as influence, particularly for slip-trailing. I’ve been collecting needlework pix and details here with some faves below. New adventures into deco have begun!
Flower bricks and cups as pictured above, as well as other pots with deco influenced by embroidery and quilt appliqué are available in my online Etsy shop.
Rollover or click on the images above for details. Pictured: Crochet, embroidery, sashiko, aemilia ars lacework, quilting, applique, and reticella.
I will be a guest artist at this year’s Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail, a self-guided driving tour of clay studios in central-western Massachusetts (the northern I-91 corridor). This year there will be eight guests in addition to the nine potters who will welcome visitors to their studios. My pots and I will be guesting at Francine Ozereko’s studio in Pelham, MA.
9th Annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail
April 27 & 28, 2013
10 am – 5 pm
2013′s roster of potters includes: Hayne Bayless and Sam Taylor at Tom White’s studio; Lucy Fagella; Stephen Earp; Todd Wahlstrom at Mary Barringer’s studio; Dan Bellow at Molly Cantor’s studio; Mara Superior at Donna McGee’s studio; Kaleidoscope Pottery at James Guggina’s studio; Adero Willard at Tiffany Hilton’s studio; and me at Francine’s studio.
PS: My springtime sale at my home studio in Baldwinville, MA
is the following weekend, May 4th & 5th.
These are my five, springtime yunomi for AKAR Design‘s Annual Yunomi Invitational, an online only exhibition. This year, 206 potters were invited to send five cups each, so this show will have over 1000 yunomi (a Japanese cup with no handle that is taller than wide with a trimmed foot, and used for daily, informal tea drinking) in a wide range of styles. Each of my yunomi are wheel-thrown, stamped, trimmed, slip-sponged, underglaze detailed, and slip-trailed, yielding an elegant, tactile, and spring-y cup for joyful use.
This is an excellent show and the cups sell fast, so create your account, and be ready ONLINE at 10 AM CST Friday, April 19th right here!