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!

Worcester Pottery Invitational 2014

Worcester Pottery Invitational 2014 poster, Worcester Center for Crafts
The Worcester Pottery Invitational is coming up April 11 -13, 2014 at the Worcester Center for Crafts, and in addition to being a participating potter again this year, I was a co-curator with fellow studio potter Julie Crosby. Julie and I invited new and returning potters from the northeast who work in a range of styles, and make outstanding pots. We also brainstormed about ideas to make this great show even more so with some new events all towards the mission of celebrating and selling handmade pottery.

Part of what makes this show unique is the sheer number of pots available for purchase (over seventy by each artist), and that all twenty-two potters will be at the show from Friday evening through Sunday closing to meet the public and discuss their work. It’s an exceptional opportunity to see such a large and diverse range of pottery available for carry-away purchasing, as well as interact with so many full-time studio potters.

And those potters for 2014 are: Nicole Aquillano, Richard Aerni, Rob Cartelli, Julie Crosby, Lucy Fagella, Bryan Hopkins, Julie Johnson Jody Johnstone, Hannah Niswonger, Maya Machin, Tom O’Malley, Doug Peltzman, Jeremy Randall, Monica Ripley, Brian Taylor, Sam Taylor, Diana Thomas, Holly Walker, Todd Wahlstrom, Tom White, Adero Willard, and myself.

Visit the Worcester Pottery Invitational page, and check out the photo album featuring images by all this year’s participants. This is a must attend pottery extravaganza for all my fellow New Englanders. See you there!

Worcester Pottery Invitational 2013 crowds Worcester Center for Crafts

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!

Worcester Living Highlight

Worcester Living cover, Winter issue 2013 Worcester Living title page with Kristen Kieffer

Pictured: Left, Worcester Living cover, Winter 2013 issue.
Right, me on the article title page throwing in my studio, p. 51.

I’m delighted to share a local feature about me, my work and studio in the article “12 Crafters to know in Central Mass” for the new issue of Worcester Living magazine.

Kristen Kieffer Ceramics in Worcester Living, "12 crafters to know in Central Mass,"Winter 2013Author Julia Quinn Szcesuil wanted to highlight artists who live, work, and sell in Worcester County, but have also developed a following and sales nationally through online shops and social media. She did a great job summarizing my thoughts as a maker (which you can read by clicking the image left), and photographer Tom Rettig did a great job of getting me to smile.

Central MA-ers can always find my work in Worcester at the Worcester Center for Crafts where I also teach adult community pottery classes, as well as visit my my biannual home studio sales here in Templeton, usually in early May and early November. (To receive updates about new work, studio sales, and more, sign up for my not-too-frequent enewsletter,  connect with me on Facebook, and/or subscribe to my blog in the upper right of my website.)

And everyone can shop my online Etsy store, which is open and chock-full for the holidays with a few new pots to come in early December!

New Wall Candy

Kristen Kieffer wall pillow tile trio

I wrote about these new pillow tiles for 2013 here, and am delighted to share some from round two, all of which are available exclusively in the Wall Art section of my online shop.

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.

Wall pillow tile Aqua  Wall pillow tile Yellow PearWall pillow tile Honeycomb  Wall pillow tile Spring green

Garden Influence & Flora Faves

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.

Penstemon & Eupatorium  Knautia  Geranium & sedumLady's Mantle, Alchemilla  Allium bulgaricum  Heuchera and dicentra

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.

Dicentra & Lamium  Sedum  NepetaSpirea & Knautia  Digitalis & Knautia  Heuchera, Hosta & Fern

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?

Salvia  Lupine  Dogwood, Heuchera, Geranium & HostaIlex  Hosta Patriot  Dicentra

First row: Salvia, Lupine, and Geranium, Heuchera, & Red-twig dogwood.
Second row: Ilex, Hosta (Patriot), and Dicentra.
All images courtesy of my gardens.

Happy Summer!
Below are detail pix of pottery and sculpture faves that have hugs & kisses of flora.

Michael Connelly  Matt Wedel  McKenzie SmithMakoto Kagoshima  Baraby Barford  Kurt Anderson  Michael Kline  Michael Sherrill  Steve Colby

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.

2013 WCC Pottery Invitational

WCC Pottery Invitational 2013

The 2013 Pottery Invitational Show & Sale at the Worcester Center for Crafts (where I teach adult classes) is April 5th – 7th, 2013. I’m so pleased to be a part of this great two and a half day exhibition and sale that was curated by fellow potters Hayne Bayless and Hannah Niswonger. The show comprises a fantastic group of twenty-one studio potters from New England who will be standing side-by-side with their work as well as demonstrating for the weekend (including me), making this an exceptional event! Visit the link to read all about events within the event, details, and times here.

Artists include Hayne Bayless, Dan Bellow, Molly Cantor, Autumn Cipala, Arthur Halvorsen, Robbie Heidinger, Jody Johnstone, Martina Lantin, Michael McCarthy, Hiroshi Nakayama, Hannah Niswonger, Kiara Matos, Tom O’Malley, Francine Ozereko, Rob Sieminski, Brian Taylor, Sam Taylor, Holly Walker, Tom White, Adero Willard, and myself. It’s a must attend event for my fellow New Englanders!

Wall Candy


Every other year or so, I make a small series of wall forms, each more elaborate than the last. At almost 3″ deep, they’re too dimensional to be called a tile, and too soft-looking to be called a box; so “pillow” seems the most suitable term for this round, as they are plumper and poofier than ever before. I really like making these forms. I mean, I really like making these…A LOT. They are my opportunity to explore layered pattern over volume without having to balance function. (Though I make sure they hang easily, and their purpose is adding beauty, so they ‘function’ perfectly!)

I think of these pieces as being collage because I’m assembling disparate pattern as well as layering four different ceramic decoration techniques (slip-sponge, underglaze, slip-trail, and mishima). But I also think of them as little paintings because I’m applying color and texture to a surface; the deco and the canvas are just both ceramic. So, ‘ceramic collage pillow paintings’ ~ perfect for adding a lovely focal point to your home décor, solo or grouped. Or just call them ‘wall candy,’ that suits me and my influences just fine.

This is just the beginning of what’s new for 2013 from my studio, some of which are already available in my online shop. These rich layers have also made their way onto some of my yunomis and large plates, all also debuting exclusively in my Etsy shop in the New Year. More posts on form and deco newness coming up with a few teasing glimpses on my Facebook page in the album New Work 2013.

Shots From and Of My Studio

My studio doubles (quadruples really) as many things when needed: making space, glazing area, gallery, as well as photo room. One of the questions I am asked frequently by fellow makers is do I shoot my own images. I do, and have from the beginning.

My Dad helped me get started photographing my work way back in 1991 with film. (Remember when we called it that and used that stuff?!) Along with my Dad, John Glick (who I assisted/residencied with from 1996-97, and who also shoots his own work, even when large format, 4 x 5 was a tricky medium), helped me understand the settings on the camera, lighting, etc. And it’s really through the same two decades of practicing how to make pots that I’ve had the simultaneous practice of shooting them.

Artwork almost doesn’t exist without images. (These days, maybe nothing exists without images.) Most folks see someone’s work via image (web, books, magazines), many times more than in person, if they ever see it in person at all. The image of the work can be paramount over the work itself, so good, current pix are a necessity. Once I’m ‘in it’, I like the photography part of my studio practice. As the maker, I have a unique idea of how my work should be shot and looks best (from angle to lighting to placement). While I’m making pots, I imagine how they’d be framed in an image and ponder groupings. Someday I would love to have my work professionally ‘styled in situ’ (and am not saying a pro couldn’t do even my simple, standard shots better), but for now, doing it myself also allows me to shoot frequently, so my images for publicity and the web are always current and new.

So, the top image is one I composed and shot for a potential new postcard to illustrate my favorite forms, varied styles, and color pairings. The image below is of me in my studio taken by my hubby for a needed ‘studio shot’ request by NCECA. (The table behind me is where I shot the grouping.) The other images below from my studio are my darling hubby acting as a stand-in for me with our new, shelter-adopted doxie, Hannah, while I try to frame up my shot, and Hannah (the reason I seem to be blogging less) posing with my CM cover when it first arrived. All glimpses from a week-in-the-life of my studio, which isn’t always a pottery-making studio.

 

The Best of 500 Ceramics

 

I’m delighted to have two pieces included in this outstanding compendium of contemporary ceramics culled from the last ten years of Lark Book’s 500 Series. The curators for The Best of 500 Ceramics were asked to select a specific number of works from all the previous 500 Series books and write a very limited amount of text about a half dozen of them. Lark then selected from among that offering of images and comments. It was a fun surprise to read Linda Ganstrom’s great observations below when my complimentary copy of the book arrived, and a great honor to have two pieces chosen for this volume. Thank you, Curators!  

About the book: “This definitive collection features a decade’s worth of memorable ceramic pieces selected from the prestigious and bestselling 500 series. Juried by a roster of acclaimed artists, including such talents as Cynthia Consentino, Beth Cavener Stichter, Richard Notkin, and Sergei Isupov, each piece captures the power of ceramics at the start of a new century. Ceramicists and art enthusiasts alike will treasure the wealth of knowledge offered in this lavishly illustrated keepsake volume as the experts describe what makes a particular vase, teapot, sculpture, or bowl stand out. “