‘Valenspringtine’!

Kristen-Kieffer-Valenspringtine-Deluxe-clover-cupsThoughts of spring and Valentine color –specifically looking beyond winter– is what inspired my work over the last six weeks, buoying my spirits during the cold, short days of December in Massachusetts. This Friday, I will be posting over 40 cups, plates, and bowls of my foray into what I’ve been calling ‘Valenspringtine’ (a mashup of ‘spring’ and Valentine’) pots into my online shop. Being surrounded by candy pink and cherry red, and new collage-like patterns has certainly helped me with the winter doldrums, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have. Check out my latest blog post to read a bit more about the new here.

40+ Valenspringtine pots available Friday, January 30th
at Noon EST in my online Etsy shop!

Happy Valenspringtine! 

Kristen Kieffer Large plate Arabesque mod in Red  Kristen Kieffer Yunomi w. Honey bee and Colorized flower, Pollinator seriesKristen Kieffer Yunomi Colorized cherries w. Green stripes  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup ValenspringtineKristen Kieffer Tumbler Arabesque mod in Pink  Kristen Kieffer Yunomi Red tulips and Pink stripesKristen Kieffer Yunomi Valentine striped hot air balloons  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup w. StripesKristen Kieffer Large plate Floral Stripe Dot set  Kristen Kieffer Bowl Floral DotKristen Kieffer Valenspringtine yunomi

Happy (International) 1st Year!

Valentine’s Day happens to mark the one-year anniversary of my surface deco DVD release, and what a great year! Dozens of DVDs have sold to folks from as close to me as Worcester, MA and as far as Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa and Sweden! DVDs have gone to 47 of the 50 U.S. states and 8 of the 10 Canadian provinces. WOW! (So a special shout-out to the clay folks in North and South Dakota, P.E.I. and Newfoundland! Maybe it’s just too cold to deco? And, where ya at, Oklahoma?!)

Those of you who have seen the DVD and the “about” chapter know that this was a father-daughter project. This anniversary gives me another opportunity to give a big, huge thank you to my Dad. This project was his idea, and he was indeed the man behind the camera. The DVD could not have been done at all, let alone in such high quality, without his patience, superb directing eye, and tenacity in the editing process.  Thank you, Dad!

If you have yet to see the trailer for the video, have more questions, or would like to read comments by fans (like the wonderful ones by two very talented and well-respected ceramic artists below!), please visit my DVD page right here to see what it’s all about! Thank you to everyone for your amazing support and comments this last year!

“This DVD shows that Kristen is not only a talented potter, but also a gifted teacher. It is a great resource for both students and teachers alike. Kristen demonstrates a wide range of decorating techniques for soft to leather hard clay, in a friendly and articulate manner. If you have ever stood before a row of freshly made pots wondering how to enhance the surface, this DVD is a must. You come away feeling that the possibilities for surface decoration are endless”. ~ Sandi Pierantozzi, Studio Potter and Ceramics Instructor, Philadelphia, PA

“The video suggests that a workshop with Kristen would be informative and fun. Technically clear and focused, the video is well made: lighting and sound are professionally done and filming supports the demos to give a clear view of the processes being demonstrated. Tips are insightful and practical, and include aesthetic as well as technical advice. Kristen shows how she uses these methods in her work, and offers suggestions about how other people may find somewhat different uses of the tools and methods helpful for their own works. She generously and clearly shares the methods she’s developed over time in her own studio. Her discussion of line, design, and pattern concerns offer an understanding of her working thoughts and the potential for personal application by the viewer. Kristen’s video shows a variety of well-illustrated decoration techniques that make me want to get to my studio and try them as soon as possible.”  ~ Linda Arbuckle, Studio Potter and Professor, University of Florida

“Surface” DVD Progress

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As some of you know, in May I spent about five days demonstrating in my studio for my first how-to dvd: Surface Decoration, Suede to Leatherhard.  I thought I’d let you know that I’ve seen the rough cut, and am pretty excited about it (especially after I got over the weirdness of watching myself).  Videos have as many steps as ceramics, so for this big first foray, it’s not surprising to report we are a bit off schedule.

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This dvd will include techniques I use and some I enjoy but don’t currently incorporate in my own work. All are “suede” to leatherhard decoration techniques mostly using slip, including stamp-making and stamping, slip-trailing, sponging, paper resist, water-etching, sgraffito, mishima, carving and sprigging. My goal is to show techniques with which you may not be familiar, offer a new take on the traditional and generally excite interest in the potential of the ceramic surface.

Kristen KiefferI strongly feel that in-person instruction is best, and a video by anyone is no substitution for classroom interaction, workshop question-and-answer or one-on-one discussion. I know not everyone is able to take a workshop or class, and I realize that many of those who are able to attend one of my workshops may like a video to review some learned techniques.

I will continue to keep you all posted!

Postcard Retrospective

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Small covered jars*, 2008
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Stamped cups, 2007
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Wire flower brick*, 2005
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Flower boat (Corset series), 2003
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Lady vase, 2002
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Tea set, Flower basket and Pourer with Saucer, 2001

I have had a “publicity” postcard made every year or two since 2001.  (There are two other postcards from ’95 and ’98 I’ll have to dig up for another—more humorous—post.)  The two most recent cards, with the jars and cups, are cone 7 electric; the others are cone 10 soda reduction.  The image directly above is my MFA graduation show card from Ohio University.  Six postcards of work from four different studios.  It’s interesting to see how things have changed, most notably after my thesis card, going from what I see as just “ornate” to more “elegant”.  Aside from additional layering, the surfaces haven’t changed a lot, but the lines that define the forms have.  They are more crisp and where I see the elegance happening.  I was the photographer for all of these too, baring witness to the transition from film to digital.

*If you would like a postcard, I would like for you to have one.  My most current 2008 Covered jar postcard and the 2005 Flower Brick postcard are still available.  (The former because it’s still new and the latter because a printing error left me with 2500!)  Simply drop me an email with “Postcard” in the subject line, your mailing address in the body, and specify which card: 2008, 2005 or both.  I would love for you to have a pot, but this is a nice precursor, and something you can actually hold in the meantime.

onelovelyblogawardThank you to Charan Sachar of the great Creative with Clay blog for presenting me with one of his Lovely Blog Awards.  I appreciate the friendly acknowledgment!

Buy Handmade Here for Spring

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Spring is coming! I have added new items to my Online Store for your shopping and gifting (Mother’s Day, weddings, graduations) pleasure.  I hope you will buy handmade for yourself or someone special. P.S. You can still receive a postcard, just drop me a note.

kk-clover-cups-blackb-dots-i kk_covjars_closeup kk_grouping

http://www.KiefferCeramics.etsy.com

kieffer_tumblers_lesophieSpecial thanks to Leslie at Le Sophie
for her kind post about my work and store.
Check her photography out here.

Influence—Sugar

Ivan Day sugar birdbasket Last weekend (4/12-13), I was a participant in a two-part symposium held in conjunction with an exhibition at Harvard University’s Busch-Reisinger Museum called “A Taste of Power: 18th-Century German Porcelain for the Table“. The second symposium day, entitled “Extravagance and Drama“, entailed demonstrations and image presentations by me and two other artists, Gala Sorkina and Nicole Peters, at Harvard’s ceramics studio. “Tables of Content” was the title for the first day of symposium lectures, and while I think we were great, that day’s lectures were superb.

Two of my three favorites were about the transition of tableware vessels and sculptures made of sugar and silver into porcelain. This huge part of history was completely new to me. Maureen Cassidy-Geiger of the Arnhold and Frick Collections gave a wonderful lecture called “Sugar and Silver into Porcelain: The Conditorei and Court Dining in Dresden under Augustus III“. (She pointed out that since sugar can’t last and silver could be melted down, the porcelain vessels were often all that remained of this stage of history.)

Ivan Day Chesterfield Dessert2These first two images though come from Ivan Day who gave a lecture called “The Edible Edifice: Sculpture for the 18th-Century Dessert Table“. Mr. Day is an expert in the field of British and European culinary history, and not only does he know it, he makes it! He made the baskets, bird and flowers above from sugar “like in olden times”, shaping the sugar paste like clay. Though he explained to me that the sugar is actually easier to use than porcelain. (I’m still absorbing that fact.) Ivan also made the filigree, brightly colored centerpiece above and white, columned building featured on this table, from sugar. Amazing. I took lots of notes, and am excited for this new discovery of these old forms and shapes. (I was very flattered and honored that he came to watch us demonstrate the next day.)
Valerie Steele corset imageThe third of my favorites was by Valerie Steele of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.). She presented images and ideas from an exhibit she curated last year called “Fashioning Luxury“. She gave a wonderful overview of the history of haute couture, gender and class in clothing, and explanations of curious phrases like “popu-lux”, “mass-tige” and “stealth luxury”. Among the myriad of books she has written, one is on corsets (The Corset: A Cultural History), she was described in The Washington Post as one of “fashion’s brainiest women”, and on her blog, she has an interview with John Galliano. Need I say more?