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.

7 thoughts on “Detail Within Detail & Luxury

  1. Hi Kristen I love your work and saw a demo about 5 years ago. Just wanted to ask you about a piece I have that is not signed. I bought it at Baltimore Clay works when you had a show with Sam Chung. It’s a tall blue corset piece. Please let me know when you get a chance. I am so sorry I missed your workshop at Long Beach Island Foundation. best Joanne

    • Hi Joanne,
      Thanks for your note, and glad you own a Corset vessel. I’m not sure of your question? I do forget to sign things every so often, but the chops may just be buried in glaze. The corset pieces are usually signed (sometimes with both the Kieffer and KK) on the feet, but perhaps the bottom. Hope to catch you in a workshop sometime!
      Best, Kristen

  2. I really love your work! Excellent post about some of your techniques and process! I am working on possibly revamping my stamp for my pottery…I really like your mirrored K’s! Gave me some food for thought! Thanks!

    Shawna
    Jsbarts.blogspot.com

  3. Hi Kristen,

    What a beautiful newsletter! I love, love pics of work in progress…great. Your explanation of the “process” very interesting, as was your demo at NCECA this year. Just sent off another article to PMI today..pics, words.

    Isn’t pottery grand? my best, Nancy Zoller

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