Sketching & Prototypes

As I wrote in the last post, when I am working out a new design I tend to draw, make and then draw again. How many I make, and how many times I draw, depends on how different the new design is from my “regular” repertoire of forms.

Pitcher_Sketchbook Pitchers_InProgress

The pitchers above are an example of a shorter development cycle.  I had been making creamers (as part of a creamer and sugar set) for years, but never really made pitchers, so last year did some drawings for a milk-sized pitcher.  I originally did some drawings of four different pitcher ideas (see Sketchbook & Pitcher post); made one of each of the four; decided I like the one above the best; and have since made several more with minor variations from the original.  Ideally I would make the time to re-draw or document the revised design in my sketchbook.  Realistically, and more often than not, I look at a finished piece on the shelf in my studio as a reminder of proportion and for cues to readjust details on the next series.  (How studio artists work in series could be a whole post in itself, note to me.)

Wire_vase_Sketch Kieffer_wire_vase

This wire vase form is an example of an idea that is going through a longer developmental cycle.  I made the drawings above as well as the finished prototype during a Watershed (a ceramic center in ME) artists-invite-artists residency last year (’08).  My definition of a studio pot prototype is the same as that for industrial design: “an original, full-scale, and usually working model of a new product or new version of an existing product”.   I needed to practice working with the wire, and to see how the wire interacted with the form, so completed this one form to understand the idea better in three-dimensions.  I still have a ways to go for the prototype to better match my ideas and drawings.  The role of “designer” is one of my many jobs to which I’m not able to devote a lot of time.  I will continue to pick away at this idea (using the wire to create an additional form or layer that corresponds with the clay, and allows the flower stems to be visible through the body).  However, it will definitely take time to evolve.  More drawing and play are in order!

7 thoughts on “Sketching & Prototypes

  1. beautiful pitchers, i’ve always loved the handles on these and your teapots, maybe someday you’ll post a video on how you make those handles… beautiful and tapered on both ends

  2. Hello There, Everything you do is a boon to my psyche. I have a definite need to gaze at lovely things and your ceramics fulfill in part that need. Thank you for sharing your process.

  3. The clay/wire combo is great!! Did you ever try the idea from the sketchbook of all wire body & clay rim & foot? That sounds like it could be really striking. Thank you for sharing this part of the process with us.

    • Thanks for your note, Keith. I agree, artists’ sketches are very illuminating. I’ve seen a couple shows with potter’s sketches. A venue in MT has an annual show, and I saw a great show at the Louisville NCECA.

  4. Pingback: “Veys,” “Veyz,” “Vahz” « Kristen Kieffer

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