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.
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.
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?
First row: Salvia, Lupine, and Geranium, Heuchera, & Red-twig dogwood.
Second row: Ilex, Hosta (Patriot), and Dicentra.
All images courtesy of my gardens.
Below are detail pix of pottery and sculpture faves that have hugs & kisses of flora.
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.
Ceramics Monthly produces an annual poster with images curated from the last year’s issues to give away at NCECA. It was fun to walk up to the CM table at the conference in Houston and see my vases on this year’s poster from my cover and spread in the September issue. Fellow 2013 poster potters include Bryan Hopkins, Lilly Zuckerman, Jason Burnett, Peter Pincus, Tara Wilson, Angela Cunningham, Lars Westby, Shawn Spangler, John Neely, Val Cushing, Marc Digeros, Matthew McGovern, Lisa Naples, Mark Knott, Christopher Melia, Brett Freund, and Lauren Karle. In great company indeed! Thanks to CM for choosing my work, and Lauren for the 2012 article!
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!
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.
I’m delighted to have two pieces included in this outstanding compendium of contemporary ceramics culled from the last ten years of Lark Book’s 500 Series. The curators for The Best of 500 Ceramics were asked to select a specific number of works from all the previous 500 Series books and write a very limited amount of text about a half dozen of them. Lark then selected from among that offering of images and comments. It was a fun surprise to read Linda Ganstrom’s great observations below when my complimentary copy of the book arrived, and a great honor to have two pieces chosen for this volume. Thank you, Curators!
About the book: “This definitive collection features a decade’s worth of memorable ceramic pieces selected from the prestigious and bestselling 500 series. Juried by a roster of acclaimed artists, including such talents as Cynthia Consentino, Beth Cavener Stichter, Richard Notkin, and Sergei Isupov, each piece captures the power of ceramics at the start of a new century. Ceramicists and art enthusiasts alike will treasure the wealth of knowledge offered in this lavishly illustrated keepsake volume as the experts describe what makes a particular vase, teapot, sculpture, or bowl stand out. “
A pictorial collection of what I’ve been working on so far in 2012: revisiting the past, expanding the familiar, and exploring the new. Most of the pieces featured here are available for purchase in my online Shop or Gallery. Click the image to follow the link and read more about each. You can also see where more of my work will be out, about, and online in shows coming up on my Schedule page here.
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!
iSpring means it is finally warming up here in north, central MA. For me, this primarily means things will start to bud and bloom which gets me all excited to sit on our porch and observe my garden, which makes me want to make vases.
Last summer (July ’10) during a two-week residency at the Watershed Center for the Arts in Maine, I made a new prototype vase (finished right). As is not uncommon for me, play and design are waylaid by deadlines, so I’ve just gotten around to making a next and improved version now (in-progress left).
Vase forms are a perennial (the pun that had to happen) favorite for me because they can be any shape, size and color, but are equally challenging in the balance between function and beauty (i.e. the potential to elegantly arrange flowers matched with a form that doesn’t overpower the display, but looks attractive and interesting sans posies). ”Vase” is such a vague term though because it can be any size, shape and color. I wish there were more specific names for vases intended for certain flowers (like the “tulipiere”) or names that designate a certain size or shape (like the “flower brick”). This Vase In Floral Design page I found gives something close to what I’m craving, giving nice summations on various vase shapes and how they’re used best with tips and notes.
My new, large (15″ h) wire lattice vase is intended, however, to be more sculptural than functional, and is a slight mash-up of form inspiration between a small, cobalt blue glass vase of my Great Grandma’s (similar to the first image below) and a brass antique find that sits in my studio. The wire creates an airy finish to the top of the vase, appearing a bit like a blue-print drawing, a crinoline framework or the unfinished, underlying architecture of the clay part itself. The wire is a way for me to draw in three-dimensions and is a nice contrast material to the clay. (I enjoy working with the wire, but the humbling nature of clay and its shrinkage does not always cooperate with my master plans for elaborate wirework, so we’ll see how it fairs in the firings). I, of course, finished this muscular form off with suggestions of Victorian wallpaper layered over mod candy stripes.
Below are a selection of vases, from antique to contemporary, in a variety of sizes and materials that caught my eye for this post. (You can see the trend that I tend to like pedestal or footed vases.) There are more of my favorites in this post here too. Enjoy!
From top right: Laced-edge glass vase c. 1920; Vintage trumpet milk glass vase; Antique brass vase; and “Eva” solitaire glass vase. Second row: Etched vintage glass vase; Vintage ruby and gold glass vase; Vintage 1950s Hull vase; and antique Louis Majorelle glass and iron vase. Third row: Anika Engelbrecht ceramic and balloon Swell vases and Petite Friture Ikebana vases. Last row are all KleinReid: Cyril vase, Chateau bud vase, Upright vases by Eva Zeisel for KleinReid, and Peep vase.
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!