Director’s Award

Kieffer Corset Flower Vessel

I’m delighted to share that my Flower vessel, (Corset series) w. Leaves received the Director’s Award in this year’s Fifth Annual Beyond the Brickyard exhibition at the Archie Bray foundation juried by Andrea Gill. This wonderful exhibition opens both ONLINE and in Helena, MT this Saturday, February 2 – April 6. The exhibition will go live Saturday night 2/2 at 6 PM MST right here. I’m so appreciative of this double honor. Thank you, Andrea Gill and Bray Director Steven Lee!

Beyond the Brickyard

Studio Cycles Pictorial 2012

                  

I enjoyed putting together this second annual, end of the year group of images from my studio of in progress and new work. These are just a selection of images I posted throughout the year on my Facebook page. As with last year’s, it’s not an order, it’s a cycle. I just completed two glaze firings, so more to come —immediately!— for 2013 here and in my online stores. Keepin’ on, keepin’ on!

Thank you very much for your continued support of my work and studio.
A happy, healthy New Year to you and yours!

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.

Bray Brickyard Acceptance

I’m so pleased to share that this new piece, Flower vessel (Corset series) w. Leaves, was juried into the Archie Bray Foundation’s Fifth Annual Beyond the Brickyard Exhibition by professor and artist Andrea Gill. There was stiff competition with 40 pieces selected from 146 artists’ over 400 submissions. I’m doubly thrilled to be accepted, and by a maker extraordinaire of which I am such a fan. The exhibition will be online (and in-person for locals of Helena, MT) February 2nd – April 6th, 2013 here.

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. “

New Work 2012

  
  
  
  
  

A pictorial collection of what I’ve been working on so far in 2012: revisiting the past, expanding the familiar, and exploring the new. Most of the pieces featured here are available for purchase in my online Shop or Gallery. Click the image to follow the link and read more about each. You can also see where more of my work will be out, about, and online in shows coming up on my Schedule page here.

Museum Purchase

Flower vessel (Corset series), Lilac pattern

I’m so thrilled to share that this large (18″ h) piece of mine, which was juried into the 19th San Angelo National Ceramic Competition by Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio (who also awarded it a Merit Award), has been purchased by the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in TX for their permanent collection! Very much a delightful, triple honor. This is the third museum to purchase my work for its collection. The other two are the New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taipei, Taiwan and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Fort Wayne, IN.

Retro Month, In Progress

This last month has been about allowing (maybe giving) myself time to play. YAY! It’s a rare thing for me because of deadlines and requests; my inherently deliberate pace (‘fast’ and ‘detailed’ are mutually exclusive it seems); and currently, perennials are calling to me like Sirens to abandon my studio and toil away my afternoons with them. I chose to play by re-visiting forms from the past, so it has been Retro Month for me here in the studio. Perhaps I felt a bit guilty for sidelining other responsibilities, or I’m just a masochist, but I apparently chose to re-visit some of the most complicated forms I’ve ever made. Go figure.

The first things I made were six Corset vessels (above). This is a form that is the most distinctive in my reperatoire I think, but is actually not a form I make often. In fact, I haven’t made the size pictured (+/- 9″ h) since 2005 when I was still firing cone 10 soda. For some reason when I moved to mid-range electric-firing in ’06, I scaled them up to 15-18″ and made only a couple every so often. So, it was fun to work on a smaller scale with patterns and polka dots I’ve developed in the last years. Indeed, a big part of the point of Retro Month was to bring my new palette (color and pattern) and accumulated experience to familiar, loved forms.

Next, I made Double-walled Baskets (only three; the one pictured above is my fave). I made these the latter part of graduate school at Ohio University over 10 years ago. I LOVE this form—pouffy walls, upholstered-looking surface, voluminous shape, elegant yet jovial attitude—but it is truly a technical nightmare, basically everything that clay doesn’t like or want to do, particularly in porcelain. While this image was the most “liked” pic I’ve ever posted on Facebook, and part of my style has always been to partially ignore the personality of clay, these lovelies may not be coming to an online shop of mine near you soon. They may have mostly served as a wistful reminder of why I stopped making them last time. We’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath as much as they appear to be.

Lastly, I made sets of Screen vases, which haven’t happened for a handful of years for no particular reason, not since my stripy/dotty phase began anyway. I love how these zig zag together in pairs and trios, pattern flowing from one to the other. These were supposed to be the less laborious end to my month…which made my hubby laugh (with love, of course).

Full Reveal

 

As promised in my last post (before NCECA), here are some new pots that I’m most excited about, ranging from small covered jars and house forms to quite tall (for me) jars and flower bricks, many using underglaze color for details like stripes and dots.

 
 
 

From top right, first row: Large covered jar w. Blue stripes & Allium (16″h) and Large pear covered jar w. Polka dots, Moonlit (15″h);  Second row: Tall flower vessel w. Lilacs (Corset series) (14″h) and Tall flower brick w. Stripes (17″h);  Third row: Medium plate w. Tangerine stripes (8″ dia.);  Fourth row: Small house from flower bricks (each approx. 5-6″h);  Fifth row: Small covered jar w. Red ribbon stripes (8″h) and Stamped vase (10″h);  Sixth row: Tall flower brick w. Blue stripes (18″h) and Small covered jar w. Polka dots (8″h).

In Progress—Corset Vessels

Corset In Progress I Corset In Progress II

Left: Altered, darted and footed.  Right: Cut and defined lip/neckline.

Corset In Progress III Corsets in progress IV

Left: All four in-progress.  Right: Handles and further definition.

Corsets In Progress V

The first two ladies complete with their slip-trailed deco.

I began this Corset series around six years ago (a story I’ll delve into at a different time) and though I don’t actually make them often, they have become somewhat of a signature form. This vessel idea began as corset-like, becoming more literal before morphing into something I think of now as more akin to upholstered furniture than vintage undergarment.

It was gratifying to spend the last week and a half (not at my computer) making some pots I just felt like making. The four are now complete and drying slowly in anticipation of joining other smaller pots yet to be made for a bisque firing.

The images above show some of the stages in the making process, minus the most dramatic image (because it didn’t occur to me till later to document it). These begin as straight-sided cylinders…subsequently altered, darted, built, added on, refined, defined, slip-trailed, slip-sponged and carved.