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?”

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!

Spring Studio Sale


Handmade for springtime! My Annual Spring Studio Sale is next weekend! I hope my fellow New Englanders can swing by to check out my studio and shop gallery-quality pots, plus “aesthetic” and “minorly flawed” seconds*. Everything that’s listed in my online shop is available, plus much more. Early birds claim the best finds!

Sat, May 18th 10 – 5 &
Sun, May 19th 11 – 4
Baldwinville, MA

Purchasing:
Cash preferred; checks and credit cards accepted.

Directions:
Baldwinville is in Templeton, just west of Gardner and about 3 miles from Exit 21 off Route 2 near Route 68. We’re centrally located about an hour or less each from Framingham, Worcester, Northampton, and Shelburne Falls, MA as well as, Keene, NH and Brattleboro, VT. We do recommend using GoogleMaps or GPS for the best directions from your particular location.

Parking:
We live on a busy road, and there is no parking in front of our house. Parking is best in our driveway or on the opposite side of the street. Please be considerate of our neighbors.

Accessibility:
My studio is in a walkout basement, so entering the sale requires using stairs either outside or inside.

Drop me an email if you have any questions: KiefferCeramics@gmail.com.

As always, thank you for supporting and caring
about independent business and handmade design.

*I don’t recommend gifting seconds, but they are perfect price-savers for you to take home and treasure.

Valenspringtine is here!

Treat your sweet self or special sweetie! For the past four winters, I’ve given myself +/-4 weeks to delve into reds, pinks, and florals to escape the winter greys and fill them with dreams of Springtime + Valentines culminating with a shop update, which includes new forms and new patterns as well as some familiar favorites. You (as a subscriber to my latest blog posts like this) and my newsletter members are getting a head start (you can also sign up for my infrequent newsletter here to stay more directly in the loop and receive my “faves”!) on the upwards of 50 new Valenspringtine pots, including Deluxe Clover cups, Colorized mugs, covered jars, square servers, trays, wall pillows, yunomi, & more!

Valenspringtine goes LIVE TODAY, Noon EST, 1/27 for YOU.
For everyone else, Mon, 5 PM, 1/28.

Kieffer Ceramics Shop

Please note: Last day to purchase for Valentine’s Day delivery is no later than Noon, Mon, 2/11. And because of a Pottery Invitational the first weekend in March, some remaining work will be traveling with me and removed from my shop, so chose your favorite(s) before 2/23!

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

In Person Or Online

In Sept, I thought I wouldn’t be having my annual Holiday Studio Sale, but after many queries and with the addition of new outside steps down to my studio, IT IS ON! Just later than usual. Instead of it being the long-established first weekend in Nov (to avoid potential snow), this year it will be the first weekend in Dec. All details below, please save the dates, and we hope to see you, snow or shine!

If you are too far or can’t swing by, my online shop is full for black Friday, cyber Monday, and every day before and after. I do have more cups (stamped & Deluxe Clover) than are listed, so if you don’t see what you want, drop me a note. Otherwise, there’s a nice variety all ready to ship. I’m always happy to send gifts to the giftee and include a personal note, which is easy to fill out at time of purchase. Thank you for supporting elegant and handmade from my studio! Note: The last day to purchase for Christmas arrival is noon Mon, 12/17.

Holiday & Seconds Sale
Sat, Dec 1st, 10 – 5 &
Sun, Dec 2nd, 11 – 4
Baldwinville, MA

.
Bring some handmade elegance home for the holidays! This sale includes gallery-quality pottery as well as “aesthetic” and “minorly flawed” seconds*. Early birds claim the best finds!

Purchasing:
Cash preferred; checks and credit cards accepted.

Directions:
Baldwinville is in Templeton, just west of Gardner and about 3 miles from Exit 21 off Route 2 near Route 68.

We’re centrally located about an hour or less each from Framingham, Worcester, Northampton, and Shelburne Falls, MA as well as, Keene, NH and Brattleboro, VT. We do recommend using GoogleMaps or GPS for the best directions from your particular location.

Parking:
We live on a busy road, and there is no parking in front of our house. Parking is best in our driveway or on the opposite side of the street. Please be considerate of our neighbors.

Accessibility:
My studio is in a walkout basement, so entering the sale requires using stairs either outside or inside.

As always, thank you for supporting and caring
about independent business and handmade design.

Drop me an email if you have questions or would like more info, KiefferCeramics@gmail.com.

* I don’t recommend gifting seconds, but they are perfect price-savers for you to take home and treasure.