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!

Instagrammin’

InstagramI’ve joined! You can connect with me on Instagram at KiefferCeramics where I’ll mostly be posting pix of new work, adds to my shop, and my studio, but as you can see above, doxie Hannah will be featured as well as our digs. Basically, images from my day, which is mostly our home, or my studio, which is in our home.

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 Mishima
Kristen 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!

Detail Within Detail & Luxury

Kieffer Matryoshka doll cup in progress  Kieffer Matryoshka doll cup in progress slip-trailKristen Kieffer signature and KK chop  Kristen Kieffer Matryoshka, quail and Nouveau cups

Above are a couple in progress shots of me brushing blue underglaze into the stamped pattern of a cup, and then slip-trailing even more detail within. I designed and made this stamp after my childhood Matryoshka doll set, which now happily resides on my adult dining room bookshelf, and is looking at me as I write about her (them).

I throw, stamp (usually between 16 -18 stamps per depending on the stamp size), and alter each of this style cup, hand-pull and build the two-piece handles, and finish with slip-trail, and —now, about 2/3 of the time— underglaze deco.

I take out 25 or so stamps I designed and made to decorate my usual series of 30 cups, which keeps it interesting for me and adds to the one-of-a-kind nature of my work. Combined with my use of 10 different color glazes and 4 different color underglazes, there’s rarely two cups a year with the same stamp in the same colors. Plus, I’m also always adding and subtracting stamp patterns from my repertoire. So, there were only two Matryoshka cups in this series, each in a different blue, one with sky blue detail, the other with tangerine.

Kristen Kieffer chop signature KKI sign all of my pots with a stamp I made (1999-00) of how I print my last name, ‘Kieffer.’ My cups also receive a second stamp at the base of my two-part handles: a mirrored pair of Ks. The KK styling is how I first signed my pots, and is a nod to my beginnings in clay (1991); a sentimental signature.

My cups are glazed with a satin exterior and glossy interior of similar colors to contrast the surface, add to the tactility and function, and allow the monochrome color to balance the surface and highlight the form. Glossy glaze is also brushed into the stamping to catch shine off the satin during use.

Each cup is individually made for comfort, durability, use, AND elegance. A study into the impact of cutlery and tableware on eating and enjoyment summarized in this NPR story perfectly reflects my goal of bringing ornate to the everyday. A handmade cup and plate can be a scientifically proven luxury that enhances your food and drink, a mini daily celebration for yourself. You can procure some of your own pottery enjoyment in my online shop right here.

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.

Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail Guest

Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail poster / flyer 2013

I will be a guest artist at this year’s Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail, a self-guided driving tour of clay studios in central-western Massachusetts (the northern I-91 corridor). This year there will be eight guests in addition to the nine potters who will welcome visitors to their studios. My pots and I will be guesting at Francine Ozereko’s studio in Pelham, MA.

9th Annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail
April 27 & 28, 2013
10 am – 5 pm

2013′s roster of potters includes: Hayne Bayless and Sam Taylor at Tom White’s studio; Lucy Fagella; Stephen Earp; Todd Wahlstrom at Mary Barringer’s studio; Dan Bellow at Molly Cantor’s studio; Mara Superior at Donna McGee’s studio; Kaleidoscope Pottery at James Guggina’s studio; Adero Willard at Tiffany Hilton’s studio; and me at Francine’s studio.

Visit the AVPT page on Facebook for great studio pix, and the AVPT website for studio maps and more details. Come on out, New Englanders!

PS: My springtime sale at my home studio in Baldwinville, MA
is the following weekend, May 4th & 5th.

2013 WCC Pottery Invitational

WCC Pottery Invitational 2013

The 2013 Pottery Invitational Show & Sale at the Worcester Center for Crafts (where I teach adult classes) is April 5th – 7th, 2013. I’m so pleased to be a part of this great two and a half day exhibition and sale that was curated by fellow potters Hayne Bayless and Hannah Niswonger. The show comprises a fantastic group of twenty-one studio potters from New England who will be standing side-by-side with their work as well as demonstrating for the weekend (including me), making this an exceptional event! Visit the link to read all about events within the event, details, and times here.

Artists include Hayne Bayless, Dan Bellow, Molly Cantor, Autumn Cipala, Arthur Halvorsen, Robbie Heidinger, Jody Johnstone, Martina Lantin, Michael McCarthy, Hiroshi Nakayama, Hannah Niswonger, Kiara Matos, Tom O’Malley, Francine Ozereko, Rob Sieminski, Brian Taylor, Sam Taylor, Holly Walker, Tom White, Adero Willard, and myself. It’s a must attend event for my fellow New Englanders!