Flora & Fauna at The Brinton

Kristen Kieffer Pillow tiles trio

Wall pillow tiles, Hand-built porcelain w. slip-sponge, slip-trail,
underglaze, and Mishima deco by Kristen Kieffer.

Flora & Fauna exhibition view

Exhibition view of Flora & Fauna at The Brinton, Big Horn, WY.

Flora Fauna Catalog The Brinton MuseumI’m thrilled to have six wall pillow tiles (three pictured above) included in the Flora & Fauna invitational exhibition at The Brinton Museum in Big Horn, WY, curated by Elaine Olafson Henry the editor of Ceramics: Art and Perception and TECHNICAL magazines.

The exhibition is up from June 15 – September, 2014, and has an accompanying catalog (cover pictured left). The full lineup of the twenty participating artists is listed here, and includes Susan Beiner, Joe Bova, Kim Dickey, Julia Galloway, Rain Harris, Susan Harris, Gail Kendall, Ron Meyers, and more. A truly stellar line-up of which I’m delighted to be a part.

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

AKAR 2013 Yunomi Invitational

Kristen Kieffer Yunomi AKAR 2013

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!

Architecture Influence Invite & NCECA

Burr House Porch Kristen Kieffer Burr House Flower brick II

I’m delighted to have work in a very unique show at this year’s NCECA, Houston conference curated by ceramic artist, professor, and color guru George Bowes. He invited 18 clay artists to participate, and paired each of us with a specific building in his city of Galveston, TX to use as inspiration for a completed work. The Dwelling on the Gulf: Ceramic Artists Respond to the Architecture of Galveston exhibition takes place at the Galveston Historical Foundation from March 9-28, 2013 and is on the bus tour for NCECA. You can read more about George’s thoughts on the show and see a couple more in progress pix by participating artists here.

Burr House roof line and porch Burr House as flower brick drawingsFlower bricks in process Kieffer Burr House Flower bricks

My assignment was the Lemuel and Julia Burr House (c. 1876), which has a “mixture of classic, gothic, and Italianate styles, and is attributed to Nicholas J. Clayton, Galveston’s leading 19th century architect.” Pictured above is ‘my’ house; drawings I worked up contemplating the house as a pot, its form and deco; leatherhard, in progress; and finished.

I opted to turn my house into a flower brick, an idea that relates to past work, but is much more intricate and based directly on the porch and styling of the Burr House. I incorporated light blue underglaze into the “porch openings” to reflect the sky as well as porch ceiling, navy mishima lines to echo the windows, slip-trailing to illustrate the surrounding trees and gardens, stripes for the roof line, beading for architectural detailing, and polka dots for fun. Invitationals for a specific form and/or influence are fun and challenging, and always push me to do shapes and details beyond my “usuals.”

Participating artists include: Peter Beasecker, William Brouillard, Joan Bruneau, Kristen Cliffel, Deirdre Daw, William Edwards, David Eichelberger, Carol Ann Fer, Julia Galloway, Bill Griffith, Suze Lindsay, Kari Radasch, Louise Rosenfield, Judith Salomon, Richard Shaw, Aaron Sober, Holly Walker, and myself.

Kieffer pots NCECA 2013 Kristen Kieffer place setting La Mesa 2013

For those who are attending NCECA in Houston, come cheer me on as one of four headlining demonstrators! In addition to the Dwelling exhibition, I also have work available at the Houston Convention Center Gallery EXPO with 18 Hands Gallery, opening Tues eve. And a place setting at Santa Fe Clay‘s La Mesa Exhibition at the Holiday Inn Express Downtown. Both are open during the conference, March 20-23.

For those who are unable to attend, no worries! I’m already stocking up my online Etsy shop with new work before I go here, and have upcoming workshops scheduled you can check out here. Hope to see you, and thanks so much for the support!

Studio KotoKoto ‘Hearty Cuppa’

I’m delighted to have four yunomi in the online Hearty Cuppa show with Studio KotoKoto, as well as share my excitement for this new and beautifully-executed online retailer (est. fall of 2012).

Studio KotoKoto offers distinctive, handmade objects by artists from Japan, the U.S., and around the world. In selecting these thoughtfully designed items, we bring you the stories of the artists, their aesthetics, and the materials they use. We promote talented artists who carry on the tradition of individual craftsmanship. ~ Kathryn Manzella and
Ai Kanazawa

Check out their lovely blog post about the show, which includes cups by potter faves Diana Fayt, Ayumi Horie, Birdie BoonePeter Pincus, plus more cups from U.S. and Japanese makers. Make sure you “like” Studio KotoKoto on Facebook to stay tuned for details on this and future shows, and to see more romantic pix of handmade like the ones framing this post.

The cups I chose to send celebrate the coming of spring as well as Valentine’s Day. For me, spring is a signifier of growth, color, and budding romance, particularly for little animals like the pictured quail and bunnies frolicking in the flowers of my yunomi cups.

Hearty Cuppa celebrating Valentine’s Day with handmade.

  Diana Fayt at Studio KotoKoto Peter Pincus at Studio KotoKotoKieffer yunomi at Studio KotoKoto Kristen Kieffer at Studio KotoKoto

Pictured: cups by Birdie Boone, Ayumi Horie, Joseph Pintz, Sakai Mika, Diana Fayt, Peter Pincus, and myself. Photos courtesy of Ai Kanazawa at Studio KotoKoto.

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

Cup Is The Word

When I was a kid, Grease was the word, but as a studio potter, Cup is definitely the word. It’s the form I make the most. It’s an object everyone uses. It’s useful, necessary, and ‘daily’ as well as personal, intimate, and homey. Tis the season for cups shows, and here’s some great venues where you can catch mine:

Chronologically,…
I have three yunomis in the Vessels for Tea invitational (10/8-28)
at the Durango Arts Center in Durango, CO.

Three handled cups in the Handle with Care invitational (11/2 – 12/8)
at Santa Fe Clay in Santa Fe, NM.

Three yunomis and two cocktail cups in the Source Material: An Exhibition on Water and the Ceramic Cup invitational (11/3 – 12/31) at Crimson Laurel Gallery in Bakersville, NC and online.

Five handled cups in the Cup: The Intimate Object VIII (11/3 – 12/1)
at Charlie Cummings Gallery online.

Six handled cups in The Cup Show (12/6 – 12/24)
at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Worcester, MA.

In addition to these exhibitions, ten of my handled cups are participating in an event on November 8th sponsored by The Clay Studio in which 500 handmade cups (10 by 50 potters) will be handed to unsuspecting citizens of Philadelphia in exchange for their coffee shop paper cups. This event, the Guerilla Mug Assault, was made possible through a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grant, and allowed for all the participating potters to be paid for their contribution in support of such a great cause, to connect a potential new audience to the beauty of handmade pots.

I also donated twelve handled cups in support of the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts Cup of the Month fundraiser along with eleven other potters. I have attended two wonderful Artist-Invite-Artist residences at Watershed, so am pleased to be able to give back in some way…and twelve thoughtful supporters will receive twelve handmade mugs each month during 2013!

Lastly and as always, there are a bunch of special, gallery-quality cups (stamped, clover, cocktail, tumblers, and yunomis) in my online Etsy shop, and if you live even remotely near north, central Massachusetts, you can shop them in person at my upcoming Fall / Holiday Studio Sale November 3rd & 4th.

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.

Here A Plate, There A Plate

  

Just a quick note with a fun collage of my plates to let you know about two upcoming shows. At the Penland School of Crafts Gallery in NC, I’ll have plates in their Artist Plate Exhibition, March 20th – May 6th, which features “a collection of artist-made dinner plates and related insights about food.” On the other side of the country in Seattle, for the four days only of NCECA, I’ll have plates in the La Mesa Exhibition with Santa Fe Clay at the ACT Theatre, March 28th – 31st. This annual exhibition with a place setting each by 150 potters is sure a sight to behold.

If you understandably can’t attend either, you can always check out the plates available in my online shop here, and see more of my exhibition schedule here.

Lovely Intangibles

  
  

It’s the title I chose for my solo show at Plinth Gallery in Denver. I had jotted down the phrase months ago, but didn’t note the context. I believe I heard it on NPR in reference to something else, but it originated from the delightful 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street:

Look Doris, someday you’re going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work. And when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.
~ John Payne as Fred Gailey

The “lovely intangibles” are something I think about when I’m working in my studio and reference about my pots when I teach: the importance of detail (different from decoration), which I define as anything from a slip-trail accent to the ribbed line that delineates a curve. Each of the aesthetic, technical and functional components that make up the whole of a pot —those big and little things that need to be there for me as the maker— may not be definable or even identifiable to the viewer, but if one or more is missing, the whole is no longer the same or as strong. I like the idea that it’s those lovely, imperceptible or even elusive intangibles that are crucial in the completion of a beautiful and useful object. We may not be aware of them when they are there, but somehow we are when they’re not.

The “important” details pictured, first row: 1. The negative space of a pitcher handle and crisp line that defines the handle itself. 2. The stripes that pop the stamped bunny silhouette, and slip-trailed tail. 3. The top flowing line of a cup handle that leads directly into the lip, and the lines the define the glossy interior and satin exterior. Second row: 4. The red stripes that wrap around and define planes and curves. 5. The cut-aways from a jar foot that create shadows and punctuate the softly squared corners of the body. 6. The thrown, altered and ribbed curves of a large pear jar.