Teaching Workshops Article for SP


Before and after my Workshop Logistics article for CM came out last month, I heard from folks who wanted to know more about actually teaching workshops. In 2008, I wrote Thoughts from the Road: Learning to Teach Workshops for The Studio Potter journal, and they’ve recently made it available online. It was enjoyable for me to re-read after so many years, and reflect on what’s changed or is the same. Btw and per the article, I have now taught several No Fear Clay! workshops!

“A fear of trying is really a fear of failing.”

 

You can read the article here, and purchase this particular issue (Teaching & Learning, Vol. 36 No. 1, Winter/Spring 2008) here. I also contributed an article to an SP issue devoted to Starting Out (Vol. 33 No. 1 Winter/Sping 2004) which is available here.

I served on the Board of The Studio Potter for 3 years, and believe it offers a unique voice in the ceramics community, and found it paramount in my education as a young potter. For 47 years it was a print publication, and is now solely online. Peruse their site to learn more.

Valenspringtine 2020

   

Treat your sweet self or special sweetie! For the past five winters, I’ve given myself a month to delve into Valentine & springtime colors to escape the winter greys culminating in a Valenspringtine shop update. I always try to come up with a couple new forms in addition to new patterns on familiar favorites, and this year is no different.

For the first time in over 15 years, I made cup & saucer sets! They’re extra special in rarity & elaboration. I also made some fun, dessert-themed pillow forms —Petit Fours & Bonbons!— lovely for the wall or perched anywhere. They may be pint-sized, but they too are special and more elaborate than ever. And just like all great sweet things, hard to have only one! I’ll be posting almost 40 new pots, including Deluxe Cup & Saucer Sets, Deluxe Clover cups, Yunomi, & Wall/ tabletop Pillows. Pictured is just a sampling!

I posted earlier in the month that the sale would be Monday, but have moved it to Friday because of a change in my travel schedule, AND because shopping on Friday seems much more fun!

As I did with my last shop update, there will be a preview that begins in advance so you can peruse & plan. NOTE: During the Preview, the work will be labeled Sold Out till the sale goes live when everything will become available. (Refresh your device at noon.) There is lots of lovely work that is currently available too if you can’t wait!

Preview: Thurs, 1/30 @ Noon Est
Valenspringtine shop update: Fri, 1/31 @ Noon

Kieffer Ceramics Shop

Please note: Last day to purchase for Valentine’s Day delivery is no later than Noon, Mon, 2/10.

As always, thank you for supporting and buying
handmade and elegant from my studio!

Workshop Logistics Article for CM

Read ALL about it! My novel* article for Ceramics Monthly highlighting actual contract standards for workshops with a spotlight on honorarium rates and inconsistencies by citing real numbers is HERE. I hope it will empower workshop presenters and become a resource for both ceramic artists and workshop venues (new & experienced) as well as inspire much needed conversation towards change and equity. Workshop participants will find it informative too and can help advocate for presenters. Please read, re-read, and share far & wide, especially with artists and institutions who could benefit from this information and/or don’t understand contract norms and fair honorariums.

Where to read: Article PDF,
Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.
CM Feb 2020 issue pp. 40-44, or CeramicsArtNetwork.org.

I spent big chunks of time working on this from May thru November in 2019 and could not have done it alone. Thank you to CM editor Jessica Knapp for inviting me to write about workshop logistics based on a personal FB rant, and for allowing me to veer off topic to pinpoint glaring issues in our field. Thank you to the CM team for agreeing to give me twice the word count when I realized it was quite necessary as well as being patient with my obstinate vision. Big thank yous to my clay friends, peers, and colleagues who candidly and thoughtfully answered my call for feedback and offered enthusiastic support for both me and what I aimed to write. And not at all lastly, thank you to my husband Trevor for reminding me to punch the thesis, enduring the ups and downs of this project, and being my constant cheerleader.

There is still so much more to say on this topic. Hopefully change will begin, others will take the baton, and the conversation will continue. Thank YOU for taking the time to read and share the article.

In 2008, I wrote Thoughts from the Road: Learning to Teach Workshops for The Studio Potter journal, which you can access here.

*Word choice courtesy a NYT article about women being less likely to praise their own work or emphasize its importance compared to men who are more likely to use the terms “unique,” “novel,” & “excellent.” So again, this article is an excellent MUST-READ!

Pottery Saved My Life

I posted this short yet poignant missive to Instagram & Facebook on June 14, 2019. Because it received so many comments (many of shared understanding and camaraderie, which you can click to read in the links above), and because social media posts basically disappear after a few days, it just recently occurred to me to post it here for easier reference and shareability.

“I thought today and finally, I’d explain how I came to clay. Two years ago Roberto Lugo emblazoned a t-shirt with this phrase, giving me the opportunity to share for the first time privately on FB then and publicly here now that this is literally true for me: Pottery Saved My Life.

For over three years (1988-91) in high school and the start of college, I was anorexic. I was hospitalized and nearly died. Twice. At almost 5’8”, I got down to what I considered to be the dream weight of 78 lbs. Anorexia nervosa seems a privileged illness (my fellow hospitalized inmates were actually a variety of different races and classes), but is really about perfectionism, depression, self-loathing, and learned body image distortion.

I couldn’t go away to college because of the illness. Too much risk. I enrolled at a local community college, which was only for ‘losers’ according to my public high school classmates. Fortunately, after my first year I took a summer hand-building course and found something that preoccupied my brain more than the addiction of perceived perfection. I’m well on the other side of too thin, but even after 28 years, think about my weight, food, and appearance multiple times a day, every day. If I hadn’t found clay (even after years of medication, therapy, and hospitalization), I’m not sure I would have gotten out of that black hole.

Pottery, as well as its tactility and physicality, consumed my mind and body, and do so to this day. I speak out frequently about back health and body ergonomics, on which I’m sure for me being anorexic took a toll, but I’ve never spoken out about my anorexia (in part because of my current weight) and the resulting ebb, flow, & desire for self-love, body acceptance, and psychological stability. I’m finally sharing this now in the hopes of helping others stuck in the nightmare of self-hate, whatever form that may take, and because we don’t know everyone’s story.

When I feel low, my mind still goes back to a rhetorical question I posed in my journal around age 18: Isn’t it better to be imperfectly happy than perfectly miserable?”

Studio Cycles Pictorial 2019

   

This is my ninth, year-end roundup of favorite and meaningful images featuring new ideas, important moments, and my pottery journeys. It’s always interesting for me to look back on the collection of images I’ve shared over the course of a year, and reflect on what continues to excite me and what was new in 2019 for me as a maker. Some of these were shared on Facebook and Instagram, but others you haven’t seen. My June post about how Pottery Saved My Life was indeed one of the most liked and commented on ever. If you missed it, you can read it here. As with past years, this is not an order, it’s a cycle.

As always, thank you for your continued support of my work and studio.
A happy, healthy New Year to you and yours!

Winter Blues

New season newness! My colors & patterns are influenced by what’s going on outside more than probably anything else. I love autumn, but since living in boonies MA, for me its splendor heralds a parade of the impending cold & short days of winter. I embraced the seasonal shift in the last six weeks with some new patterns paired with the moodier side of my color palette. (Very soon I’ll be ALL about the pinks & reds to celebrate Valenspringtine though!) Taking on winter one month at a time for my latest shop update of cups, square dishes, and berry bowls for the holidays.

Winter Blues shop update
Mon, Dec 12/2 @ Noon EST.

 

I’ve uploaded all the new work to my new store —KiefferCeramics.shopwhich is listed as Sold Out for you to Preview till the sale goes live at Noon on Monday when it will then all be available. There is lots of lovely work that is currently available too if you can’t wait. Please note, the last day to purchase for Christmas delivery (U.S.) is no later than 9 AM Friday, 12/20.

As always, thank you for supporting and buying
handmade and elegant from my studio!