‘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

‘Valenspringtine’ In Progress

Kristen Kieffer yunomi (in progress) w. flowers, Colorized series  Kristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup (in progress), Arabesque modern seriesKristen Kieffer Deluxe clover cup (in progress) w. stripes and polka dots  Kristen Kieffer yunomi (in progress) w. Honey bees, Pollinator series

Pictured are my in-progress, Deluxe clover cups and Yunomi
at the leatherhard stage with completed decoration.

December tends to be a quieter time in my studio, a month I try to use for play and development in the midst of ongoing deadlines. For the last six weeks, I’ve focused on color, specifically more.

Around 2012, I began to add hand-brushed color in my stamp patterns, from bits to a bit more. Since this past spring, I’ve been hand-brushing several colors into one or two whole stamps (an image stamp vs. an abstract pattern) creating what I refer to as my Colorized Series. For me, the dazzling color from one completely colored image creates a focal point. The surrounding, uncolored stamps feel wistful and softer, like memories. Hand-coloring every stamp would be prohibitively time-consuming, but more importantly, full color on every image would feel commercial. I want to entice the cup’s owner to turn it ’round in the hand to find, appreciate, and ponder each honey bee (above), for example, colored and uncolored.

The delightful reception to my new Colorized cups encouraged me to delve deeper into cherry reds and cupcake pinks during my December play month. I’m a huge lover of color, but the technical logistics of color in ceramics, in addition to my general glacial aesthetic growth (in no small part because I allow myself to be a precise maker) slowed my figuring of how exactly to bring color to my pots. Suffice it to say, color is happening!

This particular color palette and my ongoing desire for it to be spring year-round (which does not happen here in Massachusetts) lead me to spend my six weeks of play on Valentine-inspired cups, a new series with colorful shapes I’m calling Arabesque Mod (a nod to my love of Islamic art, juiced with contemporary color and mod flair), new flower stamps, and as many polka dots and stripes as I could fit on a cup (above).

The ‘Valentine/Spring in Feb’ or ‘Valenspringtine’ cups, tumblers, and few tableware pieces will be listed in my online shop on Friday, January 30th at noon EST.

Breakfast Special

Kristen Kieffer Breakfast settings for two and serving

My toast rack, egg cups & caddy, butter dish, and place settings for two
for
Breakfast styled by me at our dining room table.

I received the invitation to participate in a show titled Breakfast (online and in Philly at The Clay Studio 11/7 – 1/4) in April from fellow potter Bryan Hopkins. Each potter was to make their interpretation of a toast rack, egg cups, butter dish or jam jar, plus two plates and cups. I immediately set to work on drawings, particularly of toast racks, knowing I wanted to use wire instead of clay for the dividers. (Indeed, I spent a three-hour flight to a workshop drawing toast racks!)

Kristen Kieffer sketchbook, toast rack drawings

My sketchbook drawings of toast rack ideas.

Kristen Kieffer Toast Rack II

Toast rack in Aqua, Drape-molded (from my design) and altered porcelain with carved,
slip-sponge, underglaze, slip-trail, and Mishima deco, cone 7 oxidation
with multiple glazes, and steel wire.

For the month of May, I was a Visiting Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT, and spent a chunk of my studio time developing the serving prototypes for this show, as well as making my egg cups and caddies, which I glaze-fired and completed at my home studio.

Kristen Kieffer Egg cups and Caddy

Egg cups & Caddy in Frost, Wheel-thrown, altered and built porcelain with carved, slip-sponge, underglaze, and slip-trail deco, cone 7 oxidation with multiple glazes, and steel wire.

Kristen Kieffer Butter Dish, Periwinkle

Butter dish in Periwinkle, Hand-built porcelain with slip-sponge, underglaze, slip-trail,
and Mishima deco, cone 7 oxidation with multiple glazes.

I don’t often make sets, but do enjoy playing with what defines one. With the pieces for this show, I didn’t want all one glaze color (I used a color family of five), nor identical elements that “match.” Every piece has sky blue underglaze (the stripes and dots of ceramic color I brush on before the first firing because I want it to be layered under my slip-trailing); my swirled slip-sponge pattern (the subtle background texture); and my slip-trail dots and ‘leaf swirl’ pattern. While I played with variations of stripes and polka dots on each piece, as well as how I laid out my leaf swirl, they all share the same style and attention to detail that makes them feel related as a whole, yet able to be mixed and matched or stand strongly alone. (The Yellow Pear cup would just as easily pair with the Spring green plate, for example.)

Kristen Kieffer Breakfast setting yellow pear

Deluxe clover cup & Plate (medium) in Yellow Pear, Wheel-thrown and altered porcelain
with slip-sponge, underglaze, and slip-trail deco, cone 7 oxidation.

Kristen Kieffer Breakfast setting green

Deluxe clover cup & Plate (medium) in Spring Green, Wheel-thrown and altered porcelain
with slip-sponge, underglaze, and slip-trail deco, cone 7 oxidation.

Breakfast opens online and in Philly at The Clay Studio on Friday, November 7 and continues through January 4, 2015, and includes sets by Blair Clemo, Lindsay Oesteritter, Lisa Orr, Meredith Host, Roberto Lugo, Emily Schroeder Willis, and Bryan Hopkins as well as myself.

This was a quite a challenge for me with months of planning and testing yielding one-of-a-kind results. I’m delighted with the final pieces and hope you’ll check the show, in-person if you can, and online for all. Thank you for ‘egging’ me on, Bryan!

Kristen Kieffer Breakfast set (above)