“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!

Ceramics in Design

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J_Adler_Helix_vase Giapato_Hula_Hoop Lucchi_Burano blooming_over_cup_DroogR_McBride_Anamorphic_cups M_Wanders_Delft_vase_II R_McBride_Grooveware Eva_Zeisel_gravyandspoonairborne-snotty-vases-mwanders M_Wanders_Delft_vase_I M_Wanders_Delft_vase_IIIBoontje_Table_Stories Boontje_tile Boontje_Other_Side KleinReidStillLifeBlackBisque

First row, from left: Vase Gauffré by Ionna Vautrin & Guillaume Delvigne for Industreal; Brasilia stripes cone vase by Jonathan Adler; Panier percé by Guillaume Delvigne & Ionna Vautrin for Industreal; Second row: Helix tall vase by Jonathan Adler; Hula Hoop by Cristiana Giopato for Industreal; Burano by Michele de Lucchi for Industreal; Blooming over cup by Mina Wu & Jan B. for Droog; Third row: Anamorphic cups by Ross McBride; Royal Delft vase by Marcel Wanders for Moooi; Grooveware by Ross McBride; Gravy boat and spoon by Eva Zeisel; Fourth row: Airborne Snotty Vase by Marcel Wanders; Fifth row: two more Royal Delft vases by M. Wanders for Moooi; Table Stories by Tord Boontje; Last row: Primavera tile by Tord Boontje for Bardelli; The Other Side Ceramics by Tord Boontje for Moroso; and Still Lfe: Black Bisque by KleinReid.

I’ve done a couple of past posts with wallpaper, furniture and home furnishings by designers I enjoy, so thought I should point out some ceramics too.  (See past posts under Favorites and Influences.)   I find these objects and the concepts behind them intriguing (most from the last eight years), and this group of designers are some of my favorites: Boontje, KleinReid, McBride, Vautrin & Delvigne, Wanders and Zeisel.  There is a strong and curious connection between studio artists/potters and industrial designers: kind of a chicken-and-the-egg history with overlap and sharing (or co-opting).   (Objects that weren’t simply white and black (and royal blue apparently) were scarce.  There must be practical as well as design reasons for the lack of color.)   I feel it’s important to be aware of what other artists in my field are up to, and awareness of form and concept for mass and high-end design markets feels equally important, especially as the lines between art and design have blurred.  Ultimately though I agree with a friend and find these objects smart, appealing and inspiring.

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!

Kanthal Wire-handled Basket

Kristen_Kieffer_Wire_BasketThis is a lil’ Wire Basket (7″h x 4″w x 3″d) I made over three years ago.  I enjoyed making it, and have continued to like it, but just this week decided to make more.  My ideas are frequently ahead of my fingers.  I have described my process —including idea- development— as being glacial at times.  (This piece seems to exemplify the point.)  My sketchbooks contain more ideas than I will probably ever make.  I’m not quite sure what makes the time seem right to pursue certain ideas, but this one’s has arrived!

I have used Kanthal wire on certain forms for years as a way to “draw” in space with another material.  (Check out the Wire Flowerbrick on my Gallery page, and a brief explanation of Kanthal wire on my Process page.)  More to come!

My New Studio Space!

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My new studio is mostly complete (just needs a ceiling). Definitely ready for someone to get to work! Now I have heat and light after three years of cold and dark.  What you are seeing is a small (15 x 15′) addition to our basement, where I used to be.  A small move, but a BIG improvement!

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(Special thanks to my darlin’ hubby for all his hard work to give me a warm work space.  Thank you, Sweetheart.)

Suede Soft

kk_dartsuede (swād) n. 1. Leather with a soft napped surface. 2. Fabric made to resemble suede. —adj. 1. The state of clay for a slab or thrown vessel just after “wet,” when the surface is no longer sticky, but still very flexible. 2. A stage of formed clay closer to wet than leather hard. 3. Earlier than “early leather”. 4. The only stage at which I stamp, alter, and dart. [Eng. Kieffer 2003]