I’m so pleased to share that this new piece, Flower vessel (Corset series) w. Leaves, was juried into the Archie Bray Foundation’s Fifth Annual Beyond the Brickyard Exhibition by professor and artist Andrea Gill. There was stiff competition with 40 pieces selected from 146 artists’ over 400 submissions. I’m doubly thrilled to be accepted, and by a maker extraordinaire of which I am such a fan. The exhibition will be online (and in-person for locals of Helena, MT) February 2nd – April 6th, 2013 here.
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. “
This last month has been about allowing (maybe giving) myself time to play. YAY! It’s a rare thing for me because of deadlines and requests; my inherently deliberate pace (‘fast’ and ‘detailed’ are mutually exclusive it seems); and currently, perennials are calling to me like Sirens to abandon my studio and toil away my afternoons with them. I chose to play by re-visiting forms from the past, so it has been Retro Month for me here in the studio. Perhaps I felt a bit guilty for sidelining other responsibilities, or I’m just a masochist, but I apparently chose to re-visit some of the most complicated forms I’ve ever made. Go figure.
The first things I made were six Corset vessels (above). This is a form that is the most distinctive in my reperatoire I think, but is actually not a form I make often. In fact, I haven’t made the size pictured (+/- 9″ h) since 2005 when I was still firing cone 10 soda. For some reason when I moved to mid-range electric-firing in ’06, I scaled them up to 15-18″ and made only a couple every so often. So, it was fun to work on a smaller scale with patterns and polka dots I’ve developed in the last years. Indeed, a big part of the point of Retro Month was to bring my new palette (color and pattern) and accumulated experience to familiar, loved forms.
Next, I made Double-walled Baskets (only three; the one pictured above is my fave). I made these the latter part of graduate school at Ohio University over 10 years ago. I LOVE this form—pouffy walls, upholstered-looking surface, voluminous shape, elegant yet jovial attitude—but it is truly a technical nightmare, basically everything that clay doesn’t like or want to do, particularly in porcelain. While this image was the most “liked” pic I’ve ever posted on Facebook, and part of my style has always been to partially ignore the personality of clay, these lovelies may not be coming to an online shop of mine near you soon. They may have mostly served as a wistful reminder of why I stopped making them last time. We’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath as much as they appear to be.
Lastly, I made sets of Screen vases, which haven’t happened for a handful of years for no particular reason, not since my stripy/dotty phase began anyway. I love how these zig zag together in pairs and trios, pattern flowing from one to the other. These were supposed to be the less laborious end to my month…which made my hubby laugh (with love, of course).
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.
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).
One does a whole painting for one peach and people think just the opposite
— that particular peach is but a detail.
~ Pablo Picasso, (Spanish Artist and Painter, 1881-1973)
A man’s accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail.
~ John Foster Dulles, (American US Republican Secretary of State (1953-59).
This is all brand new work unloaded just last week! Some have already sold, others are in boxes in or on their way to Philadelphia awaiting installation in exhibitions for NCECA, and still more will be packed up today for a drive down to Philly for another conference exhibition. (Details on all next week’s conference shows are on my Schedule page here.)
We think in generalities, but we live in detail. ~ Alfred North Whitehead (British Mathematician and Philosopher, 1861-1947)
So, this is a teaser post, a glimpse of form and detail. I wanted to share some new work with you to show the underglaze dots and stripes I’ve been working with and mentioned here, but am saving the full reveal for those of you who will be able to get to some shows in person at NCECA next week. Consider this an enticement (whether you are able to attend Philly or not), to seek out ArtAxis, La Mesa and the Studio Pottery Invitational in Philly, or check back here in early April for more pics in their entirety, and pieces to purchase at my online store.
Only the poet can look beyond the detail and see the whole picture.
~ Helen Hayes, (American stage and film Actress, 1900-1993)
From top left, First row: Bobby Silverman, Gertraud Möhwald, and Magdelene Odundo; Second row: Hans Coper, Viola Frey, Sam Chung and Gary DiPasquale; Third row: Andrea Gill, Jeanne Quinn, and Mary Barringer; Last row: Jason Green and Alan Caiger-Smith.
Visit Part I here to see not only the first grouping but also what I mean by “love” (vs. influence). I enjoy putting these love montages together and hope to do one every so often. I welcome you to leave a list of your all-time favorite contemporary clay artists in the comment section.
I have had a “publicity” postcard made every year or two since 2001. (There are two other postcards from ’95 and ’98 I’ll have to dig up for another—more humorous—post.) The two most recent cards, with the jars and cups, are cone 7 electric; the others are cone 10 soda reduction. The image directly above is my MFA graduation show card from Ohio University. Six postcards of work from four different studios. It’s interesting to see how things have changed, most notably after my thesis card, going from what I see as just “ornate” to more “elegant”. Aside from additional layering, the surfaces haven’t changed a lot, but the lines that define the forms have. They are more crisp and where I see the elegance happening. I was the photographer for all of these too, baring witness to the transition from film to digital.
*If you would like a postcard, I would like for you to have one. My most current 2008 Covered jar postcard and the 2005 Flower Brick postcard are still available. (The former because it’s still new and the latter because a printing error left me with 2500!) Simply drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Postcard” in the subject line, your mailing address in the body, and specify which card: 2008, 2005 or both. I would love for you to have a pot, but this is a nice precursor, and something you can actually hold in the meantime.
Thank you to Charan Sachar of the great Creative with Clay blog for presenting me with one of his Lovely Blog Awards. I appreciate the friendly acknowledgment!
From top left, First row: Ron Nagle, Cindy Kolodziejski, Scott Rench, Brad Schwieger and Michael Lucero. Second row: Kathy Butterly, Leopold Foulem and Maren Kloppmann. Last row: Andrew Martin, Kathryn Finnerty and Michael Sherrill. Not pictured: Adrian Saxe.
This could also be titled, “Ceramics I Want to Own”. This is a different category from the Influence series I add to periodically (click “Influences” in the right column under “Search Past Posts by Category”). When I teach workshops and sometimes via email, I am asked about my “favorite ceramic artists”. This grouping features some of my all time favs.
I don’t consider the work of the artists pictured above —and the next couple of groupings I hope to add in future posts— influences. It’s hard to define, but I differentiate between “favorites” and “influences”. The pictured works are vessels, wall pieces and sculptures I enjoy, appreciate and just plain love (like I want them in my house, love) by artists I respect. Sometimes we like things specifically because they are different from what we make (do, or wear).
When I teach workshops and speak to my students about influences, I try to explain my realization from years ago when I learned to buy work I appreciate rather than attempt working in a style that doesn’t suit my personality. I like “minimal”, but don’t make it, so I buy Maren’s. Of course there is overlap, but generally I buy (or covet) favorites; I research and absorb influences.
I am fortunate to own work by four of the eleven pictured by purchase, trade or gift.
More “Ceramic Loves” to come! They will appear here first, and then be collected under Search Past Posts in a new category I’m calling “Favorites”.
Once I’m set up, I enjoy photographing (or, “digitizing”) my work. I like playing with close-ups and positioning, trying to stage the piece(s) in the most dynamic and informative way (like the red b-form pair above). Below are some detail shots from yesterdays photo shoot:
So, many of these new images will be sprinkled around this site.
And in other Kieffer Ceramics news… My studio is in a minor upheaval as we add on a small addition to give us more space, heat and windows down there. Today’s activity involved a couple of great guys cutting a 6′ x 7′ opening into the foundation wall where my work table once stood (pictured below with our beautiful front yard). As they say from my husband’s hometown of Woonsocket, RI: “There it is. Gone.”