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.
Dots on my pots!
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:
.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:
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.
Tis the season to ‘shop small,’ and I hope you will shop Kieffer Ceramics online not just because I’m a small business (of one), but because I make unique pottery that adds beauty to your life. My pots celebrate luxury for everyday with distinction.
Thank you for buying and giving quality handmade during the holidays
and in between. Shop Kieffer Ceramics online at my Pottery Shop on Etsy.
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.
I’m thrilled to share that my work was chosen for Ceramics Monthly‘s September 2012 cover! CM is the most popular clay magazine in the biz with a total market reach of over 140,000. It is a huge honor that is in conjunction with a thoughtful, four-page article titled “Kristen Kieffer: The Impact of Daily Elegance” written by Kansas State University graduate student Lauren Karle. Big, huge thank yous to Lauren for contacting me, the lovely writing, and hard work through the process. Thank you, Lauren and CM!
The second big honor announcement is that I will be one of four demonstrators at NCECA‘s (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) conference for 2013 in Houston, TX, March 20 – 23! What a thrill to be asked to demonstrate at the largest annual gathering of clay folk in the world, where upwards of 4,000 makers, teachers, and collectors meet to see great work, listen to provocative lectures and panels, and watch awesome demos. If you’re heading to Houston, come see me on stage Thursday morn, 9-noon and Friday afternoon, 1-4, and give me a cheer of support! Thank you, NCECA!
I have some lovely new pots posted in my online shop and gallery store for the holiday season. I can’t compete with the big-box stores’ price cuts enabled by mark-ups or the online discounters’ free shipping deals with their bulk accounts, nor do I think you expect me to or actually consider those my competition. I can offer you handmade porcelain pots intended to bring a little elegance with a touch of merriment to your everyday. I do offer high quality ware and solid crafts[wo]manship. And I will send you a handwritten note of appreciation on one of my postcards when you do buy from me online, now for Cyber Monday and any day after. Everyday luxury and excellence year-round is what I have in stock. Thank you for perusing handmade and independent. XO KK
I titled this post before remembering that 2010 is actually the year of the tiger in the Chinese zodiac. A fitting animal for my very striped year! The stripes and polka dots of layered color are another way for me to visually pop the pattern and draw the viewer’s eye around a form. Plus, I’m having fun deriving influence from here. In the last 10 years, my work has evolved from just ornate to (I hope) elegant, and now I’m entering my…joyful?…playful?…perky?…stage!
Most of these are —or soon will be!— listed in my Online Store for the holidays.
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).
One does a whole painting for one peach and people think just the opposite
— that particular peach is but a detail.
~ Pablo Picasso, (Spanish Artist and Painter, 1881-1973)
A man’s accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail.
~ John Foster Dulles, (American US Republican Secretary of State (1953-59).
This is all brand new work unloaded just last week! Some have already sold, others are in boxes in or on their way to Philadelphia awaiting installation in exhibitions for NCECA, and still more will be packed up today for a drive down to Philly for another conference exhibition. (Details on all next week’s conference shows are on my Schedule page here.)
We think in generalities, but we live in detail. ~ Alfred North Whitehead (British Mathematician and Philosopher, 1861-1947)
So, this is a teaser post, a glimpse of form and detail. I wanted to share some new work with you to show the underglaze dots and stripes I’ve been working with and mentioned here, but am saving the full reveal for those of you who will be able to get to some shows in person at NCECA next week. Consider this an enticement (whether you are able to attend Philly or not), to seek out ArtAxis, La Mesa and the Studio Pottery Invitational in Philly, or check back here in early April for more pics in their entirety, and pieces to purchase at my online store.
Only the poet can look beyond the detail and see the whole picture.
~ Helen Hayes, (American stage and film Actress, 1900-1993)