Influence: Furniture

   
   
   

From top left: “Furniture” by Joan Busquets I Jane; Seating, Osoram by Konstantin Grcic; lamp by Hector Guimard; Tsubomi by Leif.designpark. Second row: side tables by Warren Platner for Knoll; table by Carlo Bugatti; etagere by Louis Marjorelle; Armchair MT1 by Ron Arad. Third row: Cobra chair by Bugatti; Crochet chair by Marcel Wanders for Droog; patterned sofa by Wanders; “bench” by Guimard.

This is a short pictorial of furniture and furniture designers I love covering more than a one hundred year span of time. The formal elements I appreciate in all of these are line, form, positive/negative space and pattern. I draw influence from contemporary and Modern furniture design just as readily as I do from the Art Nouveau era.

I call this series “Corset” (image far left), but it has become more like a small piece of furniture in my mind. The second image is a collage from my sketchbook and how I meld a variety of influences—in this case, Couture clothing and pattern and a bombé chest—into an idea for a ceramic (my design material) vessel.

New(s)


  

These are brand NEW forms and ideas unloaded from the glaze kiln last week, and shot yesterday (by me…in my kitchen) to share with you.

Once I’m set up, I enjoy photographing (or, “digitizing”) my work. I like playing with close-ups and positioning, trying to stage the piece(s) in the most dynamic and informative way (like the red b-form pair above). Below are some detail shots from yesterdays photo shoot:

Screen vase set (squished together), top image: front-sides, bottom: back-sides

 

left: Flower vessel; Right: Garter box

 

left: Flower vessel; right: Pear covered jar

So, many of these new images will be sprinkled around this site.

And in other Kieffer Ceramics news… My studio is in a minor upheaval as we add on a small addition to give us more space, heat and windows down there. Today’s activity involved a couple of great guys cutting a 6′ x 7′ opening into the foundation wall where my work table once stood (pictured below with our beautiful front yard). As they say from my husband’s hometown of Woonsocket, RI: “There it is. Gone.”
  

Bird & Botanical Influences

illustration M.J.Heade Orchids Mckenzie engraving Peacock J.Hnizdovsky woodcut
 Plant Ornament book M.J.Heade passion Nouveau pattern
William Morris Tulip and Rose Vallentin illustration JollyBe cake William Morris lily drawing
Nouveau pattern M.J.Heade magnolia

From top left: an Australian illustration; Orchids & Spray Orchids with Hummingbirds painting by Martin Johnson Heade; coloured engraving by Daniel Mackenzie; peacock and peahen illustration; rooster woodcut by J. Hnizdovsky;  Second row: image plate from the book Plants & Their Application to Ornament; Passion Flowers & Hummingbirds painting by Martin Johnson Heade; Kingfishers, Dragonflies & Flowering Rush and Butterflies & Wood Sorrel illustrations by M. P. Verneuil; Third row: Tulip & Rose fabric by William Morris (1876); illustration by Mrs. Vallentin from the book Women of Flowers: A Tribute to Victorian Women Illustrators (J. Kramer, 1996); “Neoclassical floral design” wedding cake* by JollyBe Bakery; Golden Lily drawing for wallpaper by William Morris; Fourth Row: Bats & Poppies and Butterflies & Bellflowers illustrations by M. P. Verneuil; A Magnolia on Red Velvet painting by Heade.

Kieffer corset detailsFloral, or at least curlicue, imagery has been a part of (i.e. handles) or on the surfaces of my work for a while. But it was a more general reference. In the last two years, I have begun to place some of the botanical and animal (especially birds) imagery I enjoy, more literally into the surfaces. (I purposefully wrote “into” instead of “onto” because I hope the way that I apply slip, stamp and carve the surface makes the imagery feel a bit more a part of the form rather than flat.)

When I look at the illustrations above, what I like are the soft, repetitive lines that resolve themselves into symmetrical, organic pattern iced with color. The botanicals are easy to come by at antique shops, and I own a few. These drawings appeal to me more than a photograph would; they have a different kind of detail, slightly stylized and romantic. The Nouveau drawings and prints appeal to my sense of pattern and layering—a bird disappeared into a thickness of leaves.

I’m pretty sure the first Martin Johnson Heade painting I saw was at the National Gallery in D.C. a few years ago. They are striking in person, especially for their modest size. They have a wonderfully mysterious atmosphere and depth I would like to capture in some of my own bigger pieces.

Kieffer cups w. animalsMy favorite class as a kid —other than art— was my fifth grade science class with Mr. Morton in Louisville. He could imitate the sound of every bird in the field and trees behind the school, and describe their peculiar behaviors. I thought that was really cool. Between him and my parents, my interest (that curiosity and admiration) in nature, has been there for awhile, but I’ve only just now figured out how I might include it in my work. I think too, in our current culture, we need to reconnect with what’s outside.

Briefly, the peacock and rooster images have popped up in my work lately as an amusing way to quietly question the gender of decoration. If a decorative male bird is featured on work that is perceived as feminine because it is decorative, is it [the work] feminine or masculine? (Did ya catch that?)

Kieffer covered jars I just completed the two greenware covered jars pictured here (not a great image, sorry). This is a new form for me, and bigger too. The one on the left (15″h) has lilacs, and the other (13″h) reminds me of wallpaper.

On a different note, I am off for two weeks to play in clay with a group of other artists during a residency at Watershed called Artists-Invite-Artists. So I’m signing off for that time. May I suggest, while I am stepping away from my computer, that we all spend some of the summer reading real words on paper, like the imminent issue of SP hitting theoretical newsstands post haste!!

*Another cake, I know, I couldn’t resist. I also forgot to mention in the post below that I listen to CAKE all the time. These cakes from JollyBe are amazing, and will probably be featured here every time I mention an influence because she has one for everything! The one I pictured above stated with the image, “…design derived from a mattress cover chosen by the bride who uses mattress design as a source of inspiration for her own art.” How perfect is that for what I’ve been writing about?!

Back in July!