Standing to Throw & CM Spotlight

Kristen Kieffer Spotlight Ceramics Monthly Summer Working Potter issue 2015

Ceramics Monthly summer issue 2015 Steven Rolf coverThanks to Ceramics Monthly for posing a question to me for the Spotlight page of the summer issue on the Working Potter. It was interesting to reflect on the last 12 years (and in only 300 words!), which is when I declared myself a full-time studio potter. Cover potter Steve Rolf was a grad when I was an undergrad at Alfred (’93-95), and super helpful and supportive of my beginnings, making this extra special on thinking back and change. Thank you, CM!
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Thank you to my hubby for taking this much requested but never till now fulfilled shot for CM, which gives me another opportunity to discuss what’s pictured. I’ve been standing to throw for TWENTY years. I began in ’95 when I threw pots at Greenfield Village for a year, and then with a backrest like this designed after John Glick‘s in ’96 when I worked with him for a year. Standing saved my back. I can’t recommend enough for my fellow potters to check out these two articles John wrote for the Studio Potter journal: “To Sciatica and Back” (1987) and “Down the Spinal Canal” (2001). Everything from his backrest design I adopted to a ‘checklist for longevity’ is addressed in the former article. Both have excellent and thoughtful reflections on adapting to change for body health and are must reads! Thank you, John!

PS: Below is an image of me at my worktable stamping pots. Note how I stack several bats on my banding wheel (my parting gift from my assistantship/residency with John!) so that I’m working about chest high, not hunched over.

Kristen Kieffer stamping in her Massachusetts studio

 

 

Firsts & Seconds

Kristen-Kieffer-Etsy-shop Kieffer Studio 2012

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My home Holiday Studio Sale here in Massachusetts is the first weekend in November, and is a wonderful opportunity for New England locals to purchase seconds, and new work for gifting. For the many who are too far to attend, there are wonderful new pots available now in my online shop, and I’ll continue to add new work through the New Year. Here are the facts:

Kristen-Kieffer-EtsyOnline Etsy Shop
Ongoing: New pots added weekly (almost daily!) with prompt shipping. Start shopping right here.

If your purchase is a gift, I am more than happy to ship directly to the recipient, and include a note that it is from you and any message you would like to convey, plus include care and process info and my latest postcard. (No invoice or receipt is included.)

Studio-Sale-signage-(spring)Holiday Studio Sale
Saturday, Nov 1st 10 – 5 &
Sunday, Nov 2nd 11* – 4 (* “Fall back” for Daylight Savings)
Full event details all right here.

Come by and sample some local cheeses, see where I make my work, and take home a new pot or two for gifts, and a couple seconds for yourself. Hope to see you!
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Thank you for supporting creativity, community,
and local by buying and giving handmade.

Potter of the Month

Jen Allen grey teapot  Kristen Kieffer Teapot Aqua

Teapot left by Jen Allen, wheel-thrown and altered porcelain, cone 10 reduction. Teapot right by me, wheel-thrown and altered porcelain, cone 7 oxidation.

I’m happy to be fellow potter Jen Allen’s Potter of the Month for June on her blog!  Jen makes lovely pots, and we have a lot in common as makers, both in approach and influences.  I hope you’ll check out my responses to her thoughtful questions, and then check out her wonderful work. Thank you, Jen!

Galloway, Kline, & Kieffer on Tales of a Red Clay Rambler

Julia Galloway, Michael Kline, and Kristen Kieffer on Ben Carter's Tales of a Red Clay Rambler
pFellow potter Ben Carter has a wonderful podcast, Tales of the Red Clay Rambler featuring studio potters and “culture makers” from around the world, that I love and listen to regularly. This past February, while we were all together for the Florida Heat Surface workshop symposium, he invited studio potters Julia Galloway, Michael Kline, and me to sit down and discuss for the podcast some of the individual and group conversations we had been having about pottery trends, design, copying, imagery, and how social media impacts all of those as well as our studio lives.

I admit it’s hard to talk with a microphone so close to your mouth you could lick it and knowing your words are being recorded to be replayed by hundreds, but it was neat to listen back because that was such a fun week together.  This conversation could have gone on for hours, there’s so much more to say and add.  Thank you to Ben for being such a great host with tough questions, and Michael and Julia for the fast-paced and smart exchange.

Have a listen right here to episode #61, and enjoy!

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

Ready To Ship

            

These and many more great goodies are in my online shop ready to ship, for gifters who want to share thoughtful, handmade craftsmanship, and giftees who want to receive ‘ornately elegant for everyday.’

Pots usually ship next day. Order before December 18th to insure Christmas arrival.

My shop will stay well-stocked through mid-January for those who receive Etsy Gift Cards or holiday spending money for post-Christmas shopping too.

Thank you for buying and giving from my studio
this season and throughout the year!

New Work, Studio & Online Sales

Kristen Kieffer fruit basketMy home Holiday Studio Sale here in Massachusetts is this weekend, and for the many of you who are too far to attend, I’ll be promptly posting new work in my online shop just after. Here are the facts:

Holiday Studio Sale
Saturday, November 2nd 10 – 5 &
Sunday, November 3rd 11 – 4
Full details are right here.

Online Etsy Adds
Beginning Tuesday, November 5th at Noon EST, I’ll begin rolling out new work with 20 new pieces, including pierced baskets, cups with new stamps, and Mishima plates.

Kristen Kieffer Gal skull cupKK Ocean MishimaKristen Kieffer flower basket

Thank you for supporting creativity and community
by buying and giving handmade this holiday season.

Echoing Mentor John Glick

I’m thrilled to share the link to a video interview with studio potter John Glick reflecting on nearly fifty years of being a full-time artist and mentor, plus a fantastic segment on his glazing (a truly wonderful treat).

Anyone who has taken a workshop with me knows how important and influential my one-year residency (1996-97) with John was and continues to be in my own life as a studio potter. I credit John with teaching me everything from properly packing pots and caring for my back by standing to throw, to my use of particular decoration techniques and—most importantly—that play is a crucial part of studio practice.

Pictured stills from the Cultural Connection: John Glick video interview, produced by the City of Farmington Hills Video Division. Watch the video here.

It’s a humbling delight to hear John refer to my year in his studio (04:15 – 07:45), and think back with fondness about that time of exploration, which helped pave the way to my being a full-time artist now. He uses the word “echo,” which is perfect as his support, energy, and influence have indeed reverberated through my mind and work (and back!) for the last sixteen years. He played a big part in my sense of discovery and exploration, and I’m thankful.

Thank you, John & Susie!

500 Teapots Volume 2

I’m very happy to have a teapot in Lark Crafts’ new 500 Teapots Volume 2 book juried by studio potter and professor Jim Lawton. I have three teapots in the original 500 Teapots book, so it’s nice to be in the new and reflect on the evolution of my work (and teapots specifically) over the twelve intervening years.

I particularly like this passage excerpted from Jim’s introduction:

“The artists represented here are blending innovation and forward thinking with an awareness of what came before. They’re acknowledging a custom that’s deeply rooted in our consciousness even as they propose new forms and iterations for the teapot. Whether it’s used to bring people together or to celebrate solitude, the teapot occupies a special place in cultures all over the world.”

Lark’s 500 Series continues to be a wonderful resource for collectors, makers, and instructors alike. It’s just as fun to see how the teapots are organized in the book as it is to see them all.  My Victorian Islamic, satin-glazed teapot is opposite a juicy, faceted one by Steven Roberts; each has as many similarities as differences. You’ll have to get the book yourself to see more examples of great teapot pairings!