Sketchbook & Pitchers

Kieffer sketchbook pitchers  kk-pitchers-l1
Kieffer sketchbook pitchers
I thought these images would eloquently demonstrate the importance of my sketchbook in making. I drew these images –in my handmade sketchbook– on Tuesday evening, and just finished making the four likenesses this Saturday morn. My studio time is more productive when I work from drawings and have an idea, rather than walking in and thinking, “Today I will make a new pitcher form.” The drawings are guidelines; a faster way to work through some form ideas than on the wheel. I admire artists who make spontaneously. I am not one of them. And have become more successful in the work and in my head by recognizing –sounds a bit cliché– how my personality suits the making (and vice versa).

I knew two of the pitchers would be stamped and the others softly squared, but don’t usually feel the need to produce the decoration in the drawings. That is improvised later. The drawings aren’t meant to be replicated anyway. Seeing something in three-dimensions is different than two, and my drawing skills only take me so far.

I have never really made pitchers. Odd for a potter. I make one every once in awhile to play with how I might do it, but it hasn’t held my interest in the past. I demo them frequently for my students, and I think that’s what got me sketching this week. So these are some new ideas worked up from other forms of mine. One (top left) is based on my covered jars; a slightly new form (pear-shaped) idea. The middle two reference my current teapot form. And the fourth (lower right) is a stretched version of my creamer.  *The second image of greenware pitchers was accidentally deleted.

I would like to see all of them bigger. I have one I like more than the others…

I mentioned my sketchbook being handmade (by me) because the type of binding –coptic, I think it’s called– allows it be opened flat for drawing and viewing. And ultimately, it feels more meaningful to draw in a book I made. This sketchbook is nearing the end pages, so I’m making another one. But the “old” one will continue to be flipped through for awhile before it gets shelved, and new ideas evolve completely into the new book.

4 thoughts on “Sketchbook & Pitchers

  1. Those are beautiful. Do you throw them and then manipulate the clay or do you use slabs? They look so delicate and refined. Beautiful work!

  2. Kristen,
    I’m interested to know more about how you make your sketch books.
    Those drawings are wonderful. I admire people who can draw that well! Jen

  3. BTW, I always reply to comments, but usually do so by emailing directly to the commenter. In this case, I’m posting a reply…
    Hi Jen,
    Thanks for your note. I took a book-making class to learn various binding techniques. The one I have been using involves sewing the signatures (the groups of pages) together and to the two covers, and is then left “open” so the sewing –which looks braided at completion– is visible. I have three pages of notes and diagrams on how to do it, so can’t begin to explain! I think it is a common and relatively easy technique once taught in person and tried.

    And drawing –like throwing– is a matter of practice. They serve me well enough, and have improved over time as I realized my pots improved by paying attention to my drawings. I see a lot of sketches that are too small to be helpful. I don’t fill a whole page with one pot, but the bigger size helps me understand the proportions better.
    Best wishes, Kristen

  4. Pingback: Fresh From the Kiln: Blocks and Pots « Kristen Kieffer

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