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.
Brand new serving plates in three sizes and a variety
of sumptuous and striped colors! Some available for purchase here.
I throw each plate on the potter’s wheel, trim the foot and alter the rim, giving it some undulation. I also decorate the surface with sponged and trailed slip (the clay version of cake-decorating), swirls and dots of shallow texture and relief patterns. The stripes and/or large dots of color are underglazes and are finished by dipping into one of nine glossy glazes from my palette and fired in an electric kiln to cone seven. If you are a maker and would like to learn more about my and other surface decoration techniques, check out my instructional DVD here!
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.
Serving Pieces: Nesting Serving Dishes (Snowflakes w. blue stripes & an Autumnal set w. leaves), Oval Server w. blue stripes, Square Servers (Blackberry floral w. brown stripe & Light blue w. blue stripes) and Medium Bowl w. Matryoshka doll stamp.
Another grouping of new pots! The smaller nesting dishes are a brand new form (based on a customer request for a smaller version of my Square Server, 1 1/2″h x 8”w/d). The small (2″h x 5 1/2″w/d) and medium (2 1/4″h x 7″w/d) “nesters” are a little more bowl-like, perfect for serving (or ice cream). The oval server (4″h x 17″l x 7″d) is actually not new, but has not been photographed before or sent outside of MA, so it may be new to you! It’s a form I enjoy and imagine for bread or fruit, but don’t make often for some reason. It and all the square serving pieces are made over drape molds I designed and made, allowing each form to be individually altered and decorated.
The subtle and not-so-subtle striping is a new foray into pattern and layering I was excited to incorporate into many of these serving pieces (as well as a jar below, in the last post). Lastly is the bowl with the Matryoshka doll stamp. She is actually not a new stamp, but one I had only used a couple times and not on a bowl. The real nesting doll set in the picture is mine from childhood, and the basis for my stamp design. I will be posting several of the pieces above to my Online Store soon. (The Autumn nesting set already sold to a Facebook Fan. I post short notes there more often about updates to my store, studio and schedule, and she was my 100th Etsy customer and received a special prize with her purchase!)
* You can still drop me an email to receive postcards! (Check this post.)
Last weekend (4/12-13), I was a participant in a two-part symposium held in conjunction with an exhibition at Harvard University’s Busch-Reisinger Museum called “A Taste of Power: 18th-Century German Porcelain for the Table“. The second symposium day, entitled “Extravagance and Drama“, entailed demonstrations and image presentations by me and two other artists, Gala Sorkina and Nicole Peters, at Harvard’s ceramics studio. “Tables of Content” was the title for the first day of symposium lectures, and while I think we were great, that day’s lectures were superb.
Two of my three favorites were about the transition of tableware vessels and sculptures made of sugar and silver into porcelain. This huge part of history was completely new to me. Maureen Cassidy-Geiger of the Arnhold and Frick Collections gave a wonderful lecture called “Sugar and Silver into Porcelain: The Conditorei and Court Dining in Dresden under Augustus III“. (She pointed out that since sugar can’t last and silver could be melted down, the porcelain vessels were often all that remained of this stage of history.)
These first two images though come from Ivan Day who gave a lecture called “The Edible Edifice: Sculpture for the 18th-Century Dessert Table“. Mr. Day is an expert in the field of British and European culinary history, and not only does he know it, he makes it! He made the baskets, bird and flowers above from sugar “like in olden times”, shaping the sugar paste like clay. Though he explained to me that the sugar is actually easier to use than porcelain. (I’m still absorbing that fact.) Ivan also made the filigree, brightly colored centerpiece above and white, columned building featured on this table, from sugar. Amazing. I took lots of notes, and am excited for this new discovery of these old forms and shapes. (I was very flattered and honored that he came to watch us demonstrate the next day.) The third of my favorites was by Valerie Steele of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.). She presented images and ideas from an exhibit she curated last year called “Fashioning Luxury“. She gave a wonderful overview of the history of haute couture, gender and class in clothing, and explanations of curious phrases like “popu-lux”, “mass-tige” and “stealth luxury”. Among the myriad of books she has written, one is on corsets (The Corset: A Cultural History), she was described in The Washington Post as one of “fashion’s brainiest women”, and on her blog, she has an interview with John Galliano. Need I say more?