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.

Needlework as Influence

Kristen Kieffer Flower bricks Embroidery patterns in Periwinkle and Green

Fashion (from all eras, Elizabethan to Couture) has been a long-time influence for my work. The structure and detail of clothing inspire my own functional pottery forms and their decoration. Basically, there is always something new for me to uncover from clothing and textiles as influence. My most recent revelation is the expansive genre of needlework, which includes everything from crochet and embroidery to a myriad of techniques I’ve only begun to learn.

Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup in GrapeI own pillow cases tatted by my Grandma and Great Grandma, love quilts of all kinds, and knew that some of the 18th century clothes I adore had embroidery, but I’ve only just recently tuned into the wide-ranging variety of needlework design as influence, particularly for slip-trailing. I’ve been collecting needlework pix and details here with some faves below. New adventures into deco have begun!

Flower bricks and cups as pictured above, as well as other pots with deco influenced by embroidery and quilt appliqué are available in my online Etsy shop.

Detail of Look 8, Erdem Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear  Crochet flora  Embroidery flowers Sashiko embroidery  Aemilia ars needlelace  [Micro] quiltingCourt Suit embroidery detail, c. 1770-85  Antique Carolina lily applique quilt detail c. 1880  Reticella samples

Rollover or click on the images above for details. Pictured: Crochet, embroidery, sashiko, aemilia ars lacework, quilting, applique, and reticella.

Spring Flora for You

Cornflower blue flower brick Frost deluxe clover cup Spring green dessert plate Grape small covered jarPeriwinkle corset vessel Garnet stamped cup Yellow pear screen vase pair Cornflower blue cocktail cup

My online Etsy shop is brimming with new work for spring!

I’m dreaming of my garden and warmer temps, and in doing so, have added lots of new pots ~ some have flowers on them, some hold flowers, and the others you can use while just dreaming about springtime flora. Thank you for supporting handmade pots that celebrate luxury for everyday. Click here to have a look!

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!

New (& Green) for Spring

     

I heard the call for green, and after much testing, have responded with this new, light, mint-y, spring-y green, my fourth new color for 2012. I’ve also been working on new forms (batter bowls and teapots with saucers, both with stripe-y underbellied handles inspired by this teapot), and playing with familiar forms, per my usual tinkering (clover cups, bowls, vases, and flower bricks). These lovelies and many more have been, or soon will be, added to my Etsy shop and Gallery store for spring shopping and gifting. I love spring, and I sure love color, so it’s fun to see my studio in bloom!

Props for Pots

  
  
  
  

I’m going for both meanings of props in my title: “things used in creating or enhancing a desired effect” and “proper respect” (slang).

The idea of using props to spice up my pics, as well as to suggest my pots’ elegant use and beauty in your home is one I have both toyed with and ignored for years. As a former lover of the folded magazines Metropolitan Home and I.D., and current adorer of the hugely popular online design blogs Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy, I am first in line for expecting (even salivating over) lush interiors with perfectly placed, unusual items in gorgeous environments. The idea of staging my own work, even in the simplest of ways, however, seemed impossibly time prohibitive.

Photography has changed a lot in the last few years, not only leaving the idea of a “photograph” in the dust, but also the simplicity of the single object on a grey background in the wake of staged objects in homey yet tailored settings. Retailers placing goods we want alluringly in environments we love is hardly new, but as we’ve all shifted to online reading and shopping, it’s what we expect, even for handmade.

The influence of Etsy’s marketplace, where I have an online shop and where beautifully styled images of equally beautiful objects is the norm, also made me take notice of staging. So, the time manager and photographer in me decided to let the designer and marketing director in me finally play for once. (As a lone studio potter, I wear all the hats around here.) It did take more time, but was also fun, and it allowed me to shop for props (felt pom pom flowers, soap cupcakes, and wooden flowers, all by fellow Etsy artists in this case), as well as use objects from around our home that are influences for my work like all my books. Even my own work became props for other pots.

It’s just a start, even if it’s baby steps; I’m pleased with the results. Someday when we’ve finished ongoing home renovations, I may do some in-room staging. For now, the time manager continues to breath down my neck (not to mention the potter who would like to get into the studio!). So simple staging is where it’s at for me: bits of playful added to the elegant, modern merriment to the Victorian.
Props to my pots!

You can shop for these *propped pots* at my
Etsy shop here and my Gallery store here.

Travel Influences & Favorites, Pt. I

March – August 2010: PA, MA, NC, TN, & NYC

 
  

The images above are the very few I took during my minimal outings at NCECA in Philadelphia, and include some favorite pieces from a quick jaunt through the PMA (Philadelphia Museum of Art) and one great building somewhere in the city with curved leaded windows. (You can see more of my favs from the PMA here.)

         

The next group of pictures is from jaunts near my home. The first two are from a building in Amherst, MA. I love the tall, slender windows and contrast of brick and stone. The second is a detail of the stone and how they used brick dust in the mortar leaving the stones looking like they are outlined in hot pink.  The rest of the images are from two visits to Historic Deerfield in central Massachusetts not far from our home.  Since I wasn’t allowed to take pictures in the historic homes, most of the pics (except the barn detail and canopy bed detail) are from pieces in the visible storage cases of their museum.  I see different things in each image, from ideas for form and detail to appreciation for handmade and craft like the last two images of the mended bowl and plate.

 
 

These last images are a favorite each of something I saw while teaching at the Penland School of Arts & Crafts (the garden bottle tree in Bakersville) and the Appalachian Center for Crafts (one of the many hand-painted signs on campus) this summer. And last but not at all least are two images of the Statue of Liberty I took when I did a lecture for the Brooklyn Potters Guild.

I’m getting better not only at remembering to take my camera with me, but actually remembering to take pictures as well, and hope to share more of what I see and figuratively bring home to my studio with you here.

Summer Tour & 2011

I am about to head off on my “2010 Summer Tour,” so thought I’d do a blog post before this almost six week hiatus.  I have been a bit delinquent about writing here lately, and though I post regularly on my Facebook Ceramics page, I’ve just been too busy with my studio sale, making work before leaving, and enjoying being in, or on the porch next to, my perennial garden. Pictured new striped cake stands just unloaded from the glaze kiln (and The Studio Potter thank you postcard for donating via AKAR’s yunomi invitational).

The first leg of my tour is a drive down to North Carolina so I can teach for the first time at the Penland School of Crafts.  I know firsthand how great a place Penland is which makes returning to teach for two weeks with my own large class of 20 (and with ceramic artists Jenny Mendes and Alice Ballard teaching in the other studio), a fantastic treat.

The second trip is my second Artists-Invite-Artists residency at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. The first time I was invited; this time I am a co-inviter with the talented Rebekah Bogard.  We met during the same AIA residency two years ago, and were having such a wonderful time, that by the second or third night, we sat down and came up with a list of artists for our next residency.  Now two years later, in addition to showing at the Salad Days Pottery Invitational, our AIA group of talented (and fun) artists will be converging on Watershed very soon for two full weeks of making and mayhem: Kurt Anderson, Mark Burns, Jason Green, Bryan Hiveley, Kathy King, Phyllis Kloda, Lorna Meaden and Nick Sevigney. Pictured new striped plates just unloaded from the glaze kiln.

The last stop is not at all the least.  I am very much looking forward to a week of teaching for the first time at the Appalachian Center for Crafts.  And since this workshop is over my birthday, we will have an extra special time! Check out the Schedule page for my fall workshop tour schedule.  Pictured new striped house form, flower bricks just unloaded from glaze kiln.

Which brings me to the beginnings of my schedule for 2011.  Workshops are always being added throughout the year, so check back on my Schedule or Workshops pages. I will be making a return trip in August 2011 to the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts where I was an artist-in residence (1997-98), and taught one of my first workshops in 2004.  I’m looking forward to the new and familiar, and Gatlinburg is always a riot.  Check out Arrowmont’s website for information on their re-location efforts, and how you may be able to help insure this great place has a new space.

So that’s where I’ll be for the next six weeks, and some of where I’ll be at this time next year.  I’ll be back here (home and the blogosphere) in August.  But if you don’t see a post it’s because I’m helping my hubby renovate our bathroom….or catching up on lost time in my garden.  Happy Summer, everyone!

Spring is in the House

    

Spring has finally sprung here in north central MA, and I hope for you too. Between the weather, little beginnings in my perennial beds and new vases and other colorful pots in my online store, I’m ready for flowers as well as your springtime shopping needs.  Thank you for thinking of my work and handmade for that upcoming wedding, graduation, birthday, or just-because-day (including Mother’s Day, May 9th) coming up in the next couple of months.

Mark your calendars for my Spring Studio Sale the weekend of May 22nd and 23rd, and visit my online Etsy shop here to buy pots.
Happy Springtime, Everyone!

www.KiefferCeramics.etsy.com

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).