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!

Spin Me Round: A Ceramics Exhibition

Delighted to be a part of this exhibition that’s so close I could actually attend for a change! I even did a demo for students two weeks ago. If you are in the New England area, I highly recommend checking out this show as well as this fantastic gallery at Keene State College. There are two other concurrent exhibitions up as well.

The show features work by 14 excellent ceramic artists —some of whom I’ve known for 25 years!— representing a wide range of approaches to the potter’s wheel and thrown, functional ceramics.

Spin Me Round
October 17th – December 11th, 2019
Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Keene, NH

New Store!


I have a new online store!

I’ve been selling in Etsy’s online marketplace for over 10 years, and it served me very well. Unfortunately they’ve made a lot of changes lately that negatively impact sellers, so I’ve opened up a new personal online store which is very exciting!

If you had my old shop bookmarked, please update and replace with: KiefferCeramics.shop (indeed the actual url). As always, I will aim to keep it stocked year-round, post about small adds on social media (IG & FB), and share my bigger updates in my newsletter.

Below is just a small selection of the over 30 new pots I posted last week. Several new stamps debuted including a bumble bee, new butterflies, and several new patterns!

There may be some kinks as I figure out the new store, but it has nice customer perks for you, like the ability to create an account for quicker check out, more payment options, and a cool image rollover to view detail! I’ve also added FAQ & Shop Policies pages, which were limited and hard to find on Etsy.

NEW Kieffer Ceramics Store

I couldn’t do any of what I do
without you & your support,
so thank you for your support & patronage!