Process

Though some of my elegant vessels are completely hand-built from slabs, most begin on the potter’s wheel. All are softly altered, treating the porcelain more like fabric than clay. I use a variety of surface decoration techniques, including stamping (with stamps I both design and make), slip-trailing, slip-sponging, and more to accent and define the forms. All of my work is fired in an electric kiln with glazes and colors I chose and developed. My influences range from 18th-century silver service pieces to Elizabethan and couture clothing, and from Art Nouveau illustration to cake fondant and wallpaper. Each of my Victorian modern pots has its own unique building process, and while I work in series, each piece is truly one-of-a-kind, and made solely by me from beginning to end.

To learn more about my decoration processes (stamp-making, stamping, slip-trailing, and more), check out my how-to Surface Deco DVD and my upcoming workshop schedule!

Forming
When the clay is still very soft—at a stage I refer to as “suede“—I alter, stamp, and/or dart (cutting shapes out of the clay wall and re-attaching the seams to create a new form). Additions like spouts, handles, and raised feet are hand-built, pulled, and shaped. Once attached, they’re refined and carved at the leatherhard stage. Except for drape molds of my design for some serving pieces that are also altered, I use no other molds to create forms or make parts.

Surfacing
I use dozens of stamps I both design and make to impress into my wheel-thrown forms at suede, which allows me to capture the plasticity of the material, and bring precision, softness, and tactility to the finished forms. The stamp designs come from my own sketches, and are influenced by Art Nouveau, Middle Eastern, and other patterns, as well as imagery I just enjoy that brings an elegant or playful quality to my pots.

In addition to stamping, I also embellish with dots, swirls, and shapes of slip (liquid clay squeezed through a trailer, like small scale cake decorating); slip-sponging; as well as stripes, polka dots, and details of underglaze. These bits of color accentuate the fondant like slip-trail, and add a visual and aesthetic layer of fun.
.
.
.
Clay, Glazes, & Firing
My work is made with Standard Clay‘s mid-range porcelain #213. I mix by hand my palette of gloss and satin glazes with color from Mason Stains. I pour and hand dip each piece with these glazes, which highlight the vessels’ forms and reveal the surface patterns, creating a tactile and functional finish. I do extensive testing to achieve the colors and surfaces for my pots, and currently have a palette of eight colors I developed and chose. All of my work for bisque and glaze is fired in L & L electric kilns. I glaze fire to cone seven, approximately 2170 degrees Fahrenheit.

.

Copyright Please ask before using images from this blog/website.
The photos and work they represent are under copyright. Thank you.
All rights reserved © 2007-2017 Kristen Kieffer Ceramics