500 Teapots Volume 2

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!

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.

Ceramics Monthly 2013 Poster

CM Poster 2013
Ceramics Monthly produces an annual poster with images curated from the last year’s issues to give away at NCECA. It was fun to walk up to the CM table at the conference in Houston and see my vases on this year’s poster from my cover and spread in the September issue. Fellow 2013 poster potters include Bryan Hopkins, Lilly Zuckerman, Jason Burnett, Peter Pincus, Tara Wilson, Angela Cunningham, Lars Westby, Shawn Spangler, John Neely, Val Cushing, Marc Digeros, Matthew McGovern, Lisa Naples, Mark Knott, Christopher Melia, Brett Freund, and Lauren Karle. In great company indeed! Thanks to CM for choosing my work, and Lauren for the 2012 article!

Kristen Kieffer Stamped vase groupingNew Stamped Vase grouping

Polka Dot Origin, Influence, & Faves

Dots on my pots!

  Corset series vessel w. dots    
  

My recent work with dots: Screen vase pair, yunomis, flower vessel (Corset series), pitcher, small covered jars, small stamped bowls, and plate.

I started layering dots (and stripes, which will be a future blog post with more influences and faves) in early 2010. The added pattern came through self-critique and seeing a need to both visually pop the raised slip-trail patterns by providing small background color, as well as add some modern fun to the Victorian flavor of my work.

So the primary purpose for the polka dots was to further my love of layered surfaces for the pots, formally creating even more richness and depth. The dots punctuate the patterns.

A close secondary function for the dots has been to add some joyfulness; polka dots are rarely somber. Though I do receive some comments by folks who favorably see ‘Disney,’ I think my pots can appear more serious than I actually am or intend. In some ways, I’m still the five-year-old tomboy who hated my freckles (my own personal polka dots), deciding one summer day that, with the aid of my grape-smelling marker, they would be much better purple. So, the dots are a way to include my influences of sweets, for example, as well as infuse connotations of informality and playfulness.

You can check out all the dotty pots in my online shop here.

Polka dot influences below with more here:

    
  
    
    

Norma Kamali dressTattoo round rug by Deanna Comellini  
  

.Pictured above from top right, first row: Peter Murdoch ‘Dot chair’ for kids; Dot window building in Beirut, Lebanon; and ‘Confetti’ tree skirt.  Second row: Draga Mathilde sofa; and Yayoi Kusama concept store for Louis Vuitton.  Third row: June Leaf organic canvas in Marine; Mod fashion;  and vintage dress.  Fourth row: White-grey ombre dot cake; paper straws; and slipper chair.  Fifth row: Norma Kamali dress; Tattoo round rug by Deanna Comellini; and ‘Op-art Attracts’ wedge by ModCloth.  Last row: Quilt in progress by Judy Martin and starfish.

The origin of the Polka Dot: It is believed that the name “polka dot” came from the Polish polka dance, and first appeared by name in 1854 in The Yale literary magazine. At the same time that the polka dance and music began in the mid 19th century, polka dots were popular and common on clothing. The pattern name was chosen simply because the dance gained such acclaim, which led to many contemporary products and fashions also taking the name. (There used to be “polka-hats” and “polka-jackets,” for example.) Most disappeared with the popularity of the actual polka dance in the late 1800s. Only the printed fabric pattern remained fashionable, and the name stuck.

Polka dot favorites of fellow studio potters and ceramic artists:

Andrew Martin  Brenda Quinn  Malene Helbak
Kari Radasch  Jun Kaneko polka dot sidewalk, Art Museum of South TX
Chiho Aono  Sandblasted process, Hans Tan Studio via Ateliér Keramiky  Ayumi Horie
Harrison McIntoshMeredith Host  Harumi NakashimaTetsuo Hirakawa  Betty Woodman  Sean O'Connell

Pictured above from top right, first row: Andrew Martin, Brenda Quinn, and Malene Helbak.  Second row: Kari Radasch and Jun Kaneko.  Third row: Chiho Aono, Hans Tan Studio, and Ayumi Horie.  Fourth row: Harrison McIntosh, Meredith Host, and Harumi Nakashima.  Last row: Tetsuo Hirakawa, Betty Woodman, and Sean O’Connell.

Pierced Pottery: Basket Faves & Influence

    

A couple weeks ago, I was in my studio pondering, and had a ‘piercing epiphany.’ I haven’t had time to do more than draw just yet, but am excited about expanding my use of piercing/reticulation/cut-outs (as pictured above) on some new and existing forms as a way to play with line, light and shadow, and form through articulated pattern.

The development of new forms paired with new surfaces is a given goal, but some days I feel more inspired (a.k.a. internally pressured) to bring that back-burnered desire to the fore. That drive usually sends me to my books on silver, my favored springboard for new forms. (It is perhaps odd to be influenced by centuries-old objects with functions so specific, many are now obsolete, but most any form for me can become an idea for a vase, which can then lead to many more ideas.)

So I was down in my studio thinking, but my books were upstairs and are worn from years of gleaning, and my computer was downstairs with me and filled with new, enticing images I’ve been bookmarking, so of course, I opened my computer. I visited my own Pinterest boards where I ‘pin’ both objects I enjoy (favorites) and objects that inspire my forms and surfaces (influence). A common thread popped out to me from my Form & Pattern, Oldies But Goodies, Ceramics: Vintage/Historical, and Ceramics: Studio Potters/Artists boards, and sent me to my sketchbook to draw: Piercing.

  

Pierced work was very popular in both silver and pottery in the 18th century (particularly the latter half) in England and Europe. I haven’t found specific information claiming so, but piercing seems a wonderful blend of form and function: the cut-outs allow air circulation (for food service and storage) while both visually defining form and lightening materials (silver, clay, wood) that can otherwise appear a bit more heavy or dense. (I sometimes envy glass’ ability to be simultaneously solid and transparent.) I also enjoy pierced elements in architecture, furniture, clothing, and many more mediums.

So, I’ve yet to get started on my own cut-outs, but have done some drawings, am very excited about minimal and maximal piercing (particularly for fruit bowls and baskets), and collected some of my favorite basket-y forms by fellow studio potters mixed in with ones from the 18th c. for you below. Enjoy, and stay tuned for some pierced pots from my own studio!

                   
  

From top left: Rebecca Chappell; Shorthose & Heath creamware; and Kari Radasch. Second row: Dr. Wall chestnut basket, c. 1750s; and Bryan Hopkins. Third row: Baddelly creamware basket, c. mid 1700s; and Creamware basket, c. 18th century. Fourth row: Brian Jones; and Bruce Cochrane. Fifth row: Odette fruitbowl w. silver stand; Steven Godfrey; and Monticello creamware basket (reproduction). Sixth row: Malene Mullertz; and Julie Crosby. Seventh row: Spode Pierced Creamware Basket and Stand, c. 1820. Last row: Sunshine Cobb; and Remodelista ‘Farmer’s market basket’.

John Glick platter

Pictorial: My Mentors

            

From the top, in reverse chronology: 2001-present, Artist-in-Residency and teaching at the Worcester Center for Crafts with Tom O’Malley. 1998-2001: Graduate school at Ohio University with Brad Schwieger, Joe Bova, Chuck McWeeny, Boomer Moore, and Vince Burke. 1997-98 Artist-in-Residency at the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts with Pete Pinnell and Bill Griffith. 1996-97: Artist-in-Residency/Assistant at Plum Tree Pottery with John Glick. 1995-96: Internship at Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum with Bryan Van Benschoten. 1993-95: Undergraduate school at the N.Y.S.C.C. at Alfred University with John Gill, Andrea Gill, Val Cushing, and Steve Rolf. 1991-93: Associate degree at Montgomery College, Rockville with Bob Devers, Don Montano, and Kevin Hluch.

For me, mentors are artists/ aesthetic coaches/ professors/ advisers/ career counsellors who I worked with for a couple days to several years; who offered me crucial support, guidance, and constructive criticism; and who influenced me as a maker, full-time artist, and instructor. I could spend pages posting quotes and sharing how each of these artists helped me ‘in the moment’ and over the years, but for now I thought it would be nice to pay a pictorial tribute. (I’ll have to do another post of peers, friends, and loved ones who I also consider big influencers, trouble-shooters, and butt-kickers.) Ironically, I don’t believe that what an artist makes can offer any real clues into how they teach and critique, but I’m lucky that I’ve had such an amazing collection of thoughtfully talented givers help me who are equally talented makers. I’m fortunate, and very appreciative.

Ceramic Surface Forum 2012

These are the twenty great artists I spent the first week of 2012 with at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (where I was an artist-in-residence 15 years ago!) for a Ceramic Surface Forum. Jason Burnett brought us all together to spend five days making, conversing and laughing (lots of laughing) side-by-side in the studio. It was a wonderful way to start the New Year. Thanks to everyone for a fun and inspiring week! Hover your cursor over each image to see its maker, and see the full list of artists in our group below.

Ceramic Surface Forum 2012: Amy Santoferraro, Martina Lantin, Kathy King, Julie Guyot, Andy Sloan Jackson, Chris Pickett, Justin Rothshank, Meredith Host, Magda Gluscek, Susan Feagin, Mark Errol, Matt Nolen, Jason Bigge Burnett, Pattie Chalmers, Chandra DeBuse, Tom Bartel, Kurt Anderson, Dustin Farnsworth, Ronan Kyle Peterson, Phil Haralam and me. Yay!

Guest Post ~ Oribe & Influence

Fellow potter and blogger Ben Carter asked me to write a guest blog post for a new series he’s calling Turning Points, “where artists discuss the effect historical ceramics has had on their studio life.” I don’t post as often as I’d like on my own blog because my thoughts don’t flow as easily as a line of slip-trail, so it was fun to have a writing assignment about specific pots I enjoy, and how objects of influence inform my work. Check out my blog post here, and the latest from Ben and his studio in China by following his blog here! ~Thanks, Ben!

Tea set by Ben Carter

Handmade for Japan

Pictured, donated work by: Beth Lo, Diana Fayt, Hiroe Hanazono, Michael Connelly, Akio Takamori, Matt Kelleher, Shoko Teruyama, Julie Crosby and Kensuke Yamada.

UPDATE! Through the seriously hard work by the three organizers and bidding generosity by many, Handmade for Japan raised over $75,000 in three days from the eBay auction! Direct donations can still be made here. Congratulations and thank you to all!

Potters and fellow artists are rallying to raise money to assist victims of Japan’s catastrophic events of last week, and ongoing problems and efforts in recovery. Please help this cause by spreading the word & bidding on the amazing work donated by more than fifty artists. The eBay auction begins at 8 pm EST, Thursday March 24th and continues through 8 pm EST, Sunday March 27th right HERE.

They have been overwhelmed with donation offers, and now only need help spreading the word and having lots of bidders for all the great donated work. Become a fan of their Facebook page HERE and follow them on Twitter HERE to keep up on the details and news. Previews of the auction items will be available in English and Japanese through their Facebook page and Twitter updates.

Handmade For Japan’s mission is to raise money (hoping for 25K) through an online auction for relief efforts to assist the victims of Japan’s catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emissions.

Handmade for Japan is an online auction of unique, handmade art donated by concerned, invited artists and organized by (only!) three concerned artists, including Ayumi Horie, the project’s instigator. One hundred percent of all net proceeds collected via the auction will be donated to Global Giving’s Japan Earthquake And Tsunami Relief Fund.

This little house vase/flower brick is my contribution for the auction. Please show up on eBay this Th-Sun and bid on great work by caring artists to help needing people.

XX
KK

Autumn at Ayumi’s

The leaves are changing up here in the northeast, so it must be time for Ayumi Horie’s Studio Sale 2010!  I’m delighted to be the guest artist at her home studio in the Hudson Valley of Upstate New York on Columbus Day Weekend, October 9th and 10th, 10 -5 each day.  Visit her website homepage HERE for directions to plan your trip!

We hope you will make a weekend of it and bring your family and friends to leaf peep and pot shop for what will surely be a fun event on a beautiful autumn weekend.

Understandably, many of you are not actually in the northeast, but please feel free to post on Facebook, Tweet or blog this message to share with those you know in the area who appreciate pots.  Both Ayumi and I will be posting work for sale online in our respective stores after the event, so those of you who can’t make it get to shop too.

There are a handful of potters in our generation who have made great contributions to the field and community of ceramics in addition to being great makers, and Ayumi is one of them with her joyful pots and groundbreaking strategies connecting the importance of handmade to a new audience.

Come check us out the weekend after next!